With passenger figures in Scotland set to rise from 90 million a year to over 104 million over the next five years, Network Rail Scotland has announced a £5 billion worth of investment plans placing the railway at the heart of the Scottish economy.
The aim is to renew track and infrastructure, boost capacity and frequency and extend electrification.
Says David Dickson, Network Rail’s acting route managing director for Scotland, ‘Scotland’s railways are a vital part of our national infrastructure and millions of passengers and freight users will benefit enormously from the plans we set out.
These investments respond to the growing demands being placed upon a railway that is now more popular than ever before and which is set to see passenger numbers grow by a further 15 percent by 2019. Over the next five years we will deliver bigger, better stations, more trains and seats, reopen railway lines and reduce the number of level crossings – creating a safer, more successful and better value railway for everyone.’
Main schemes include the £650m Edinburgh-Glasgow Improvement Programme. EGIP will see the main line between Edinburgh and Glasgow electrified boosting capacity and reducing journey times. The Borders Railway is pushing ahead. The £294m project will re-establish services from Edinburgh through Midlothian to Tweedbank.
The increasingly popular Aberdeen – Inverness line will benefit from a £170m programme of improvements. The Whifflet line in Glasgow will be electrified. Infrastructure work will see tracks, bridges and signaling replaced throughout the country.