SCOTLAND deserves world-class, future-proofed infrastructure.

Modern transport for modern times. That means every part of Scotland and everyone in Scotland. Geography and income should be no barrier.

Yet here in Inverclyde that vision is far from a reality.

Last week we learned that ScotRail’s new Class 385 trains will not be running on the Gourock or Wemyss Bay lines as the Transport Minister had suggested. Inverclyde will not be getting a share of the new £370 million fleet any time soon.

It’s a blow to local passengers, particularly those who had already objected to the replacement of much of the existing rolling stock serving Inverclyde with old Class 314 trains.

Modern electric trains are, we are told, needed for driver training and plugging gaps elsewhere in the rail network. 

Many local passengers have therefore had to make do with the 314s, built in the 1970s and lacking in many of the conveniences passengers these days have quite rightly come to expect — not least WiFi and proper heating. 

While ScotRail insist that the 314s have only replaced a small proportion of electric trains into Inverclyde, their deployment is nonetheless a retrograde step at a time when we should be aspiring for rail services that are improving and fit for the future. 

The case for better transport in Inverclyde isn’t just about rail but our roads too.

The geography of Inverclyde makes the A8 and the motorway an absolutely vital road link. It’s the main route in and out of the area and one of Scotland’s most important trunk roads.

Yet I know from the e-mails I receive from local people that there are stretches of the carriageway west of Glasgow and into Inverclyde which have badly deteriorated and are causing real concern. 

Pressure has to be put on the Scottish Government and their roads contractors to make them raise their game and extend their programme of resurfacing work.

There is a future for Inverclyde as a hub for tourism and cruise liners visiting Scotland. The City Deal and the transformation of the waterfront bode well for the area but Inverclyde can only succeed as a transport hub if local infrastructure supports hassle-free onward journeys. 

That’s why I’ll keep pressing the case for better rail, better roads and investment in transport in Inverclyde.