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Further improvements needed for real ‘Rail Revolution’

Published 16 March 2016 by Jamie Wylie

Further action is required in Scotland’s rail infrastructure in the future to ensure a sensible, sustainable transport network, Transform Scotland has argued.

The comments come in response to the yesterday’s announcement of 200 new rail services across Scotland by 2018, which will see an additional 20,000 seats each day.

Whilst the additional rail capacity is welcomed, further improvements are needed to help Scotland’s rail network expand in the future.

Commenting on the recent announcement, Transform Scotland director Colin Howden said:

“It’s great to hear that there are going to be more trains made available. However, we also need additional track capacity on many of these routes. Unless we see concrete commitments by the Scottish Ministers to upgrading these routes then we have doubts about the ability of the network to accommodate the additional trains when they become available in 2018.

“It’s certainly going to be difficult to get more trains on the route from Dundee to Aberdeen unless there is a clear and transparent decision by government to upgrade the single track rail line at Montrose.

“Services from the Edinburgh to Perth are severely constrained by capacity limitations on the Fife Coast and the long single track section on the approach to Perth. In our view, the most significant single improvement that could be made would be the re-creation of a direct route from Edinburgh to Perth. This would not only dramatically change journey times from Perth and Inverness to Edinburgh but would also reduce journey times from Aberdeen by routeing some trains via Perth. That would represent a ‘Rail Revolution’ for the Scottish inter-city network.

“Train speeds and journey times on the Scottish inter-city network have shown no appreciable improvements in the last twenty years. On the east coast, Edinburgh to Newcastle takes around 90 minutes while for a comparable distance to Aberdeen the journey time is nearer 150 minutes.”