Rail improvements on track for the North
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Rail improvements on track for the North
type Press release
Transport Minister Keith Brown today announced a series of improvements for rail services in the north of Scotland.
Making a statement to the Scottish Parliament on the future of rail, and responding to the Rail 2014 Consultation, Mr Brown announced a package of measures, including billions of pounds of funding and investment for the network to increase capacity, deliver shorter journey times, and create new stations. Specific improvements for the North of Scotland include:
Details of the first phase of improvements across the Aberdeen to Inverness corridor, which will deliver significant journey time improvements and greater connectivity, with potential for new stations
Phase 2 of improvements to the Highland Main Line will deliver greater capacity and faster journey times to improve connectivity for passengers and businesses. Phase one is to be implemented in December 2012
A 15-year franchise for the Caledonian Sleeper Franchise
On Cross Border Rail services, following negotiation with UK Ministers, Scotland will now be more closely involved in the East Coast Franchise
Encourage the creation of Community Rail Partnerships to provide innovative solutions to enhance the railway and address local needs
Mr Brown said:
"The Rail 2014 consultation has sparked a much-needed debate about the future of rail services in Scotland. We have listened to the views expressed by passengers in the north of Scotland and responded – showing leadership, innovation and ambition in the process.
“For example passengers expressed a desire for the direct cross-border services to remain intact – we have delivered but also set in place arrangements that will enhance the service. We have also secured a place at the top table to influence and help design how the DfT east coast franchise moves forward. It is vital that the views of those in the north of Scotland are taken into account when developing these services.
“Our aim is to help facilitate a more attractive rail service that is accessible, affordable and appealing to as many people as possible. That in turn supports our key aims of supporting economic growth, protecting the environment and improving connectivity between Scottish communities and providing access to employment opportunities.
“We are determined to improve connections across Scotland as well as improving journey times and reliability. We want Scotland’s railways to be a source of pride and enjoy an international reputation for efficiency and quality.
“The next contract for operating Scotland’s trains will require franchise bidders to submit plans to improve transport integration, have a greater focus on community engagement and consultation with other transport operators, specifically in relation to the development of timetables and provision of information. Bidders will also be asked to provide plans for integrated ticketing and a smart ticketing scheme and better electronic communications facilities for passengers, such as the extension of the wi-fi trial.
“And the decision to move forward with a separate franchise contract for the Caledonian Sleeper services means at least 15 years of stability to help maximise the £100 million investment earmarked for this crucial service.
“I will be encouraging passengers, transport operators, local authorities and businesses to become involved in Community Rail Partnerships, which will help to shape the future of rail in their areas and throughout Scotland. Although we continue to improve Scotland’s railways and train services, we are still stifled by the powers held at Westminster and will continue to campaign for full control of our own railways as we will then be able to do so much more. Constitutional progress will mean a greater opportunity to improve our railways and rail services. Indeed, many countries enjoy the benefits of cross-border rail connections which help encourage investment and tourism between neighbouring nations. We want to ensure that Scotland’s voice is fully heard and able to make a proper impact internationally – and control over our own transport connections will be a vital part of that.”
The Aberdeen to Inverness Rail Improvements project aims to be completed in phases between 2015 and 2030 and deliver a journey time of around 2 hours between the two cities. Phase 1 of the project will deliver enhanced commuter services into both cities and working with station promoters enable them to deliver Kintore and Dalcross railway stations. Detailed development work is underway to determine the track and signalling improvements required to deliver the extra services and stations.
The Highland Main Line Improvements Project aims to deliver journey time improvements of around 35 minutes and an hourly service in phases up until 2025. Work is underway to develop phase 2 of the project to support journey time reductions for passenger services and better respond to demand from freight customers. This may include passing loops and improvements to track, bridges and tunnels. Phase 1 of the scheme which was completed earlier this year delivered two extra trains each way and there will be journey time improvements on some services from December 2012.
Railhub Archive ::: 2012-06-21 TSC-001