About us

Since its formation, CRAG’s main objective has been to promote the development of an integrated transport strategy for the Edinburgh travel to work area. To achieve this, we have organised several campaigns to highlight the lack of a ‘master plan’ for the area and the imbalance between the huge sums spent on road building compared to other transport modes. Documents relating to some of these campaigns can be found in the Publications section.

Significant achievements have been:

  • The 1999 launch at the Scottish Parliament of our Capital Rail proposals for an integrated transport system for the area
  • Our 2001 “audacious” bid for £250 million from the Scottish Executive Public Transport Fund for five rail developments – “Five rail developments for the price of 5 miles of motorway”
  • The production, in collaboration with other sustainable transport groups in the area, of the Transforming Edinburgh leaflet (early 2003)
  • The launch of new proposals for reopening the Edinburgh South Suburban Railway: Crossrail 2 (August 2003)
  • We have campaigned consistently from 2003 onwards in support of Edinburgh Trams by providing constructive responses to consultations and co-ordinating support from other business and environmental groups.
  • In 2011 we launched a campaign for the reopening of Abbeyhill Station linked to the EGIP programme of work.
  • In 2014 we gave our support the Transform Scotland’s “Inter-City Express” campaign, which is calling for the upgrade of the east coats city links from the Central Belt to Perth, Inverness and Aberdeen to 21st century standards.

The Inter-City Express programme would transform rail travel, bringing all seven of Scotland’s cities closer together – with a safe, civilised and sustainable mode of transport. The key features of the programme are to:

  • Extend to Perth the recently implemented electrification to Dunblane as part of a plan to double and electrify the largely single track railway between Perth and Inverness – transforming the latter’s capacity to handle increased passenger and freight services.
  • Reduce journey times from Inverness, Aberdeen and Dundee to the Central Belt through electrification and extensive doubling of the network.
  • Further improve the still largely single track rail line from Aberdeen to Inverness, bringing it into the 21st Century.
  • Build and electrify a new direct rail link from Perth to Edinburgh, slashing up to 35 minutes off journey times from Inverness and Perth to Edinburgh.
  • Create a new Inter-City rail hub at Perth station – the catalyst for transport connectivity and urban regeneration.

What have we achieved?

Prior to 1999, there was a distinct lack of a transport vision within the City of Edinburgh Council and all the ideas for rail and tram developments were coming from pressure groups like CRAG. The landscape has transformed, with the City of Edinburgh Council now committed to a visionary transport strategy that is helping to green the city.

One of CRAG’s early campaigns in 2003 was for Edinburgh Crossrail, originally envisaged as providing travel opportunities through the city centre between the east of the capital and the growing business and residential developments in the west. A re-opened South Suburban Railway would provide similar east-west linkage – but through the busy south side of the city. New stations were eventually opened at Brunstane and Newcraighall. These openings established two train paths per hour on the ECML and paved the way for the highly successful Borders Railway now running to Tweedbank near Melrose, and hopefully to Hawick and beyond in the near future. In the absence of Brunstane and Newcraighall, a key first part of the Borders Railway, it is possible that the Borders Railway would never have got off the ground.

Edinburgh in 2024 now has trams that run from Edinburgh Airport to Newhaven on the Firth of Forth. The trams have been hugely popular ever since they opened and plans are now underway for an extension from Granton and through the city centre to the Royal Infirmary in the south-east of the city. The tram project is the most significant enhancement in public transport infrastructure for decades.

Can CRAG claim any credit? – well perhaps not all but we may have helped shape the new thinking on the transport policy front.

CRAG continues to believe that the South Suburban Railway can make a positive contribution to greening the city and to improving public transport options – particularly if operated by tram-trains.

We also believe that a re-opened station in Portobello linked to the South Suburban Railway, the Borders Railway and to stations on and off the East Coast Main Line such as those to North Berwick and Dunbar as well as to the city centre and the west of the city would transform public transport provision for this vibrant east Edinburgh seaside community.

Re-opening the safeguarded Abbeyhill loop line would give much needed increased rail capacity east of Waverley and consideration should be given to re-opening Abbeyhill station, in particular to serve the many folk in the new housing between London Road and Easter Road stadium. Re-doubling the Calton tunnels, especially the north tunnel, should also be regarded as a priority in restoring rail capacity in Scotland’s capital city.

How can YOU help?

Why not become a member of CRAG and participate by coming along to our meetings and contributing to ensuring that Edinburgh gets better and more sustainable transport suited to a capital city.