RAILWAY bosses should be more concerned about improving routes in cities like Glasgow than an “obsession” with journey times to London according to a think tank report.

Reform Scotland said projects like Crossrail and a rail link to Glasgow Airport are more important to passengers than reaching London faster.

As the report was issued an ex-Glasgow MP, and former rail minister said a publicly owned ScotRail wouldn’t improve services when most delays are down to Network Rail, which already in public ownership.

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The reform Scotland report recommended a Scottish Rail Infrastructure Commission to be set up to look at the future of rail services.

It said: “In 30 years’ time, do we want to be in a situation where it could take less time to reach London by rail from Edinburgh than it does to reach Inverness?

“What about links between Dumfries and Galloway and Edinburgh? Or Glasgow crossrail, or Edinburgh and Glasgow airport rail links?”

Meanwhile Mr Harris, who was rail minister in Tony Blair’s Labour Government, said that the debate over whether the ScotRail franchise, currently held by Dutch owned firm Abelio, should be in the public sector is a “meaningless distraction” in terms of improving services for passengers.

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The former Glasgow South MP said: “There has been almost constant discussion about nationalising ScotRail for years, and it continues unabated. But it is a meaningless distraction.

“ScotRail is responsible for only around one-third of the delays on the railways, whereas over half are down to Network Rail, the public body responsible already nationalised railways.

Mr Harris is a member of the Reform Scotland Advisory Board said the think tank was calling for rail powers to be devolved to the Scottish Government.

He added: “While rail links to London are important, so too are links within Scotland, links which are sadly lacking at present.”

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A Transport Scotland Spokeswoman said: “Greater devolution and better governance arrangements for Network Rail in Scotland will increase efficiency and improve accountability.

“This is a necessity as we move towards a system of grant based funding from 2019 onwards.”