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‘Rail revolution’ Transport Minister outlines ScotRail improvement programme

15 March 2016  •  Author: Katie Sadler, Digital Content Producer, European Railway Review

Derek Mackay, Minister for Transport and Islands, has announced plans for a ‘revolution in rail’ in Scotland, providing more than 200 new ScotRail services and a range of benefits for rail passengers.

Transport Minister outlines ScotRail improvement programme

(From left to right) Abellio UK managing director Dominic Booth, Transport Minister Derek Mackay and ScotRail Alliance managing director Phil Verster

ScotRail’s ‘rail revolution’ programme will introduce 200 new services and provide an additional 20,000 seats per day for passengers across Tayside, Stirlingshire, Perthshire, Aberdeenshire and the Borders.

ScotRail will introduce 200 new services and 20,000 additional seats per day

The additional services represent a significant enhancement to ScotRail’s current timetable, which currently runs 2,300 services per day.

Timetable improvements are made possible by a Scottish Government decision to retain 13 additional Class 170 diesel trains (39 additional carriages) beyond the terms of their current leases, which were due to end on 2018. These extra trains create the capacity to make timetable service improvements for commuters and city to city passengers – with input supplied by local stakeholders to finalise the best fit to local priorities.

“We have initiated a revolution in rail services across Scotland”

Transport Minister, Derek Mackay, said: “We have initiated a revolution in rail services across Scotland; from 2018 passengers will benefit from more seats, more services and faster journey times as a direct result of the increased funding that we are putting into the rail network in Scotland.

“The retention of these units will complement the arrival of our new High Speed Trains, which will allow for new and improved intercity connections. They will also make our rail network more resilient, creating opportunities to run faster services on key commuter routes and offering better connectivity for regional areas.

“This funding is in addition to the £475m investment in Scotland’s rolling stock over the lifetime of the franchise, meaning Scotland’s rail passengers have never been better served, both in terms of the quality of the trains they travel on, and the number of services running on the network.”

“The service that we provide to our customers will be unrecognisable”

Phil Verster, Managing Director of Abellio ScotRail said:  “This is a really significant moment in our mission to transform Scotland’s railway. In three years’ time, the service that we provide to our customers will be unrecognisable. Our new electric fleet will be running between Glasgow and Edinburgh, our High Speed trains will be linking our seven cities and, thanks to this announcement today, we will have hundreds more services and thousands more seats available to customers across Scotland – particularly in Aberdeen, the North East and Fife.

“I really cannot overstate just how big a change to our service that this announcement represents. This is not a slight amendment to the way we do business, it is a fundamental change. These new trains will allow us to completely recast our timetables, meaning more regular, local services combined with a high speed intercity offering.

“This transformation means that we can set about delivering on our vision of a railway that connects people with jobs, businesses with customers and communities with the opportunity to grow and prosper. A railway that delivers for Scotland – not just because of what it is, but because of what it allows our country to do.”

Dominic Booth, Managing Director of Abellio UK, said: “This investment gets to the heart and soul of how we are working together with Scottish Government to deliver improvements that will see ScotRail powering increased and sustainable economic growth for Scotland as well as delivering benefits for city regions and communities. This is the best railway in the UK and it is getting better”.

Additional services for Tayside, Stirlingshire, Perthsire Aberdeenshire available from 2018

From 2018 there will be more services confirmed for Tayside, Stirlingshire, Perthsire Aberdeenshire. There will also be increased peak capacity across Fife and the Borders, relieving some of the pressure on commuter services, along with more commuter options linking local towns between Glasgow and Edinburgh via Cumbernauld and Falkirk.

The improvements have been designed following an early consultation led by ScotRail with input from regional transport partnerships, an arrangement that will continue as plans are progressed.

2 responses to “‘Rail revolution’ Transport Minister outlines ScotRail improvement programme”

  1. Cumbernauld Commuters' Association says:

    Improved services on the Glasgow-Falkirk Grahamston-Edinburgh axis via Cumbernauld (Scotland’s 9th largest centre of population at approx. 50,000) are long overdue and will indeed be welcome, however there will still be nothing northwards to Stirling-Perth-Aberdeen/Inverness etc.
    Perhaps the new hourly ‘regional express’ Glasgow-Dundee services could be routed via (and to serve) Cumbernauld!

  2. Jeremy Smith says:

    I live in Scotland. Since Beeching ripped up the railway lines back in the 60s, my nearest train station is 30 miles away and only gives me access to Ayr and on to Glasgow. If I wish to go anywhere else, I need to drive 60 miles to a station. So adding new carriages will only help those who already have a service, and that is few and far between.

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