The service between the south east of England and Scotland is expected to remove 20,000 cars a year from motorways by 2001. For the company car driver the service should, Motorail claims, reduce fuel and vehicle wear and tear costs, as well as relieve the stress of long-distance road travel and mean considerable time savings.
The new Motorail differs from the original British Rail service, which ground to a halt in 1995 despite receiving £4 million in Government subsidies, in that passengers are not able to travel on the same train as their vehicles. Instead they can fly or use several other passenger rail services operated by GNER, Virgin Trains or the Caledonian Night Sleeper service operated by ScotRail.
Prescott said the service was an important contribution to the ongoing debate on integrating road and rail transport as laid out in the integrated transport white paper. But when asked whether, as a businessman, he would use the service, Prescott told Fleet NewNet: 'No, I'd probably fly. However, if I was planning to go on holiday to explore the Highlands with my family I would consider it.'
Motorail costs £195 to Edinburgh and Glasgow (£360 return) or £215 to Inverness (£395 return). Prices include VAT and unlimited vehicle insurance, but not the cost of passenger travel. GNER, ScotRail and Virgin are offering a range of associated cut-price ticket deals.