THE six Glasgow train stations thought to be under threat of closure will remain open as long as the SNP are in power at Holyrood, the Deputy First Minister has promised.

As reported in the Evening Times this week, questions were raised over the viability of the Queen Street to Anniesland line after it was revealed it would be the only stretch of track north of the River Clyde not to be electrified as part of the Edinburgh Glasgow Improvement Programme (EGIP).

The line - which takes in Ashfield, Possilpark & Parkhouse, Gilshochill, Summerston, Maryhill and Kelvindale stations - was originally part of the EGIP plan, but was removed by the Scottish Government to cut back the cost of the project.

The move led bosses at Strathclyde Partnership for Transport (SPT) to seek assurances from the Scottish Government over the future of the line, which was only completed in 2005 as part of a £35million project.

Today Nicola Sturgeon vowed the stations would not close.

She told the Evening Times: "Passengers can rest assured that this SNP Government is totally committed to keeping the stations along the Maryhill line open.

"There has never been any intention to close them, and they will remain open as long as we are in office.

"We are delivering a great package of rail improvements for Glasgow in time for the Commonwealth Games, and these stations will remain a key part of the local transport network."

A Glasgow City Council report to be considered by SPT this week reads: "This line would be the only section of non-electrified route north of the Clyde in the SPT network and therefore have limitations as to the type of rolling stock, performance of the line and hence major effect on patronage."

SPT said it was raising the concerns with Transport Scotland and asking for the line to be electrified to guarantee its future.

Transport Minister Keith Brown today insisted the line will eventually be electrified.

Mr Brown said: "To set the record straight, the future of the Maryhill line is safe. We remain committed to Maryhill services using the direct route from Anniesland to Queen Street Station.

"Electrification of the Maryhill line was proposed as part of the initial Edinburgh to Glasgow Improvement Programme (EGIP). Constraints on access to Queen Street High Level would have meant some trains being removed and Anniesland services moving to the low level with passengers on the Maryhill line changing at Anniesland for forwarding connections.

"However, we listened to concerns around journey time extensions and adapted our plans, giving a commitment to retain the services in Queen Street High Level.

"I can also confirm that Maryhill will be electrified when we roll out the electrification of the network after EGIP, as we've always stated.

"We're delivering for Glasgow. The redevelopment of Queen Street station will transform the passenger experience.

"We're playing a full part in delivering rail improvements to support the Commonwealth Games, including delivering major improvements at Dalmarnock station, the gateway to the Games and a key element of the long-term regeneration of the East End."

Mr Brown defended the SNP government's record of investing in railways, saying that it "stands up to scrutiny".

He added that eradicating fare anomalies to make ticket prices fairer and the government's £5billion package of investment in Scotland's rail infrastructure and services announced last year "underlines our commitment to making rail an affordable travel option and an alternative to the car."

He added: "We have a long-term vision for a modern and efficient rail network in Scotland that supports sustainable economic growth.

"Rail in Scotland is clearly a success story with record numbers of passengers, more services and increasing numbers of stations. But we want to achieve more.

"That is why we will continue to invest in better trains, infrastructure, stations and services to support further growth.

"Next month I will be setting out the specification for the next ScotRail franchise, informed by our extensive consultation.

"It is clear to me that our proposals will offer a good deal for the people of Maryhill, Glasgow and indeed across Scotland."