TRAINS connecting Scotland’s main cities are running at dramatically slower average speeds than those in the South East of England, new research has shown. 

Services from London travel on average between 65 to 93mph, but one Scottish route – between Edinburgh and Perth – trains managed to hit just 25mph on average. 

Scotland’s flagship service, the Edinburgh to Glasgow express route, meanwhile, saw trains travel at an average rate of just 51mph.

Research carried out by the Press Association looked at the quickest possible Friday services between certain major UK towns and cities. 

It worked out the average speed by analysing the distance as the crow flies between key destinations and the rail journey time. 

It showed the 13.34 Edinburgh to Perth service, covering a distance of 32 miles, took 76 minutes.

It showed an average speed of only 25mph.  

The 9.28am Edinburgh to Dundee service was only marginally better, covering the 37 miles between the two cities at an average rate of 34mph.  

Meanwhile the 51mph average speed for Scotrail’s busy Edinburgh to Glasgow service works out at around 40 per cent slower than the fastest route identified  by the research, between London Paddington and Reading. 

Trains on that service cover the 37 miles between the two stations in 24 minutes, working out at an average of 93mph.

The slowest route featured in the study was Liverpool Central to Chester, which takes 41 minutes to make the 14-mile journey (as the crow flies) at 20mph. 

But while there is a dramatic difference between the fastest and slowest averages, passengers travelling from London to other major destinations often have the choice of non-stop trains which automatically results in lower journey times.

Many of the slowest routes featured are only served by trains with multiple stops.

Allison Cosgrove, chair of campaign group Railfuture Scotland, warned that comparing certain non-stop London routes with multiple stop journeys in Scotland was like “apples and pears”.

She said: “If you are travelling between Edinburgh and Perth, and making stops at a number of stations on the way – particularly on a week day when it’s probably used by a lot of commuters – then it is not going to be the same as a high speed service that has no stops. 

“And if you want a really high speed service, then the penalty you have to pay is a service that doesn’t stop at certain stations – precisely what we are trying to avoid. We don’t want trains that whizz around at top speed but don’t actually stop anywhere.”

Paul Plummer, chief executive of the Rail Delivery Group, which represents train operators and Network Rail, said: “It’s misleading to compare stopping services with intercity services, which are faster because they stop at fewer stations, but of course we need to continue investing to keep improving journeys across the country.

“Rail plays a vital role in connecting communities and driving economic growth across the country, which is why the industry is working together to deliver projects such as Great North Rail and introduce over 5,500 new carriages and 6,400 extra services a week by 2021.”

The research comes days after ScotRail was named as the UK’s best performing large train operator, after its moving annual average (MAA) – which measures reliability and punctuality – hit 90.0 per cent for the year to August 19.

The result is ahead of the improvement plan target of 90.5 per cent and higher than the other four large train operators, Northern, Southeastern, South West Trains and Govia Thameslink Railway.

ScotRail now ranks seventh out of 23 train operating firms in the UK in the Network Rail figures launched last week. 

The operator unveiled an improvement plan in 2016 following calls for it to be stripped of its £7bn ten year franchise, after performance slid below contracted standards.