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Cumbernauld misses out on station wi-fi but Government say town is "very much" in their sights

Written by Scott Campbell.
Published at 15:36 GMT on Thursday, May 16th, 2013.

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Picture is copyright of Bill Henry and is used on his courtesy.

NO CUMBERNAULD railway stations will be treated to the free nationwide roll-out of wireless internet, it has been announced. 

As part of the £1 million Scottish Government funded project, twenty-five ScotRail stations, nationwide, will have free public wi-fi installed, in the run up to the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games.

However, despite the nationwide programme, no North Lanarkshire station will see the introduction of free wi-fi, including three local train stations; Croy, Cumbernauld and Greenfaulds.

Councillor David Fagan, who chairs North Lanarkshire Council’s regeneration and infrastructure committee, has described the decision as a “slap in the face” to local rail users.

Cllr Fagan added: “I am baffled by the decision to exclude major North Lanarkshire stations in Motherwell, Airdrie and Croy from the roll-out of free wi-fi.

“Stations in Lanarkshire serve around 13 per cent of the Scottish population and are extremely popular with commuters. At a time when we are focussed on trying to boost the economy this is a real slap in the face to the people of North Lanarkshire.

“I will be seeking urgent talks with ScotRail and the minister to seek answers on why North Lanarkshire has been excluded and make a positive case for immediate inclusion.”

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However, ScotRail have said that they “understand” if any customers are disappointed, although they pointed out that a number of factors went into deciding which stations would be the first to benefit from free wi-fi, including footfall; how long people stay in each station; number of services; and, the impact of major events such as the Ryder Cup and Commonwealth Games.

A ScotRail spokesman also confirmed that some local train commuters would benefit from the nationwide roll-out, and pointed out that wi-fi is currently being rolled out on board all Class 170 trains, which call at Croy on the Edinburgh-Glasgow via Falkirk High route.

The spokesman added: “We understand that some customers will be disappointed that their local station was not included this time. However, we have long-term plans for more stations to receive wi-fi in future. These 25 stations are simply the first step towards this goal.”

Transport minister Keith Brown has also defended the decision, and has pointed out that there are many projects ongoing or in the pipeline, to improve the area’s rail network, including the electrification of the route between Cumbernauld and Glasgow Queen Street, next month, followed an £81 million spend.

Mr Brown added: “North Lanarkshire is very much part of this Government’s plans to upgrade and improve our railways and to say that we are excluding the region is simply not true.”

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