A programme of proposed railway projects aimed at sustaining investment in Scotland’s Railway has been unveiled at an industry event.
The Rail North of Border Conference saw almost 300 rail experts, including the supply chain, gather in Glasgow to look ahead to the next rail funding period (Control Period 6: 2019-2024).
Together with industry partners, Transport Scotland shared information on a suite of proposed projects under consideration across the length and breadth of Scotland including:
- relieving overcrowding in a dense commuter area through the proposed East Kilbride and Barrhead project;
- improving the reliability of services to the Scottish Borders and beyond;
- more services and faster journeys between our major cities, including Perth, Aberdeen and Inverness;
- improving services to our rural communities on the West Highland and Far North Lines;
- tackling environmental issues through electrification and exploring new technologies such as battery and hydrogen trains.
There will also be a 21% increase in expenditure on the day to day running of Scotland’s rail network, which will deliver improved performance and resilience over time.
Michael Matheson, Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity said: ‘Rail provides vital connections between our cities, our communities, our businesses, and showcases all that Scotland has to offer. That is why we have invested an unprecedented £8bn in this key part of the economy across Scotland since 2007.
‘Scotland saw the highest regional growth with passengers making 102 million journeys in 2017/2018. Despite the financial pressures imposed by the UK Government, we have confidence in the future of rail.
‘Through our new projects pipeline, we will address the cost and delivery challenges witnessed in recent years. It will also give confidence to the rail supply chain, in that it assures a steady stream of work for the next five years.
‘My biggest frustration, however, has been operating with one hand tied behind my back. Franchising, in its current form, doesn’t work and we must use the opportunity provided by Keith William’s review of the industry as a means of delivering real and meaningful structural change in Scotland.
‘Nothing short of full devolution of rail powers is needed.’