SCOTRAIL officials last night sought to reassure anxious commuters

that its plans to introduce single track sections on the Milngavie

branch line will not lead to delays in services or affect safety.

Nearly 400 people gathered in Kessington Hall, Bearsden, for a public

meeting on the controversial ScotRail plan to introduce single track

between Westerton and Bearsden and Hillfoot to Milngavie -- stretches of

track on which up to 5000 people travel every day.

The meeting, attended by Labour MPs Mr Sam Galbraith, Strathkelvin and

Bearsden, and Mr Tony Worthington, Clydebank and Milngavie, was told by

ScotRail that the plan to introduce single track is a key element in its

#18.5m improvement and re-signalling scheme for the Glasgow north

electric line, which was included, and approved, in the 1983 Strathclyde

Regional Council rail review.

Mr Alan Mackay, ScotRail's regional operations superintendent, told

the meeting that the proposals would result in a more effective service

for customers. The track change was essential, he said, in order to

ensure that ScotRail could meet the needs of the travelling public.

With public fears over rail safety particularly acute following the

recent tragedy at Bellgrove, on the outskirts of Glasgow, Mr Mackay

sought to reassure the public. ''Safety is our paramount consideration.

It always has been, and always will be.''

Representatives of Stag, the Safer Track Action Group, told the

meeting that it would be ''foolhardy to downgrade the Milngavie line

before the lessons of the Bellgrove disaster have been identified and


Mr Ken Sutherland, a member of Stag and the research officer for the

Railway Development Society, said the group's claim that services would

be seriously affected by a single track system had been reinforced

yesterday by two separate incidents.

The breakdown of a train between Milngavie and Glasgow led to delays

for up to 100 passengers, and another delay was caused by doors jamming

on the 10.20am train from Milngavie to Glasgow.