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June 24, 2012

Scotland unveils £5bn rail investment plan

The Scottish Government has unveiled plans to invest £5bn between 2014 and 2019 to improve rail infrastructure and services.

By admin-demo

Scotland rail

The Scottish Government has unveiled plans to invest £5bn between 2014 and 2019 to improve rail infrastructure and services.

Of the total investment, about £3bn will be used for rail infrastructure over the five-year period, an additional £1bn will be allocated for network enhancements and £1bn will be used to secure the economic and social benefits of the ScotRail and Caledonian sleeper franchised services.

As part of the investment, new smart ticketing technology will be introduced throughout the rail network by the end of the franchise period.

Bidders will be invited to develop plans to link with other forms of transport and efforts will be made to better integrate rail journeys with connecting ferry and bus services.

In addition, the agreement will also see installation of Wi-Fi technology across the network by 2019.

According to the Government, over the five year period, Network Rail (NR), which looks after rail infrastructure, will be responsible for the delivery of the Edinburgh to Glasgow Improvements Programme (EGIP) and the Borders Railway project, the first phase of improvements across the Aberdeen to Inverness corridor.

NR will also oversee the second phase of improvements to the Highland Main Line and the development of a rolling programme of electrification at 100km of track per year upon the completion of EGIP.

Scotland Transport Minister Keith Brown said that increasing rail travel is vital to the Government’s key objectives of supporting economic growth, protecting the environment and improving links between Scottish communities and their access to employment opportunities.

"As well as ensuring improved journey times and reliability, I am calling on the industry to work together to deliver high quality, reliable and resilient services in a way which maximises value for money for rail users and taxpayers," Brown said.

After 2014, the next rail contract will be extended to run for ten years, with a potential break point after five years, while the next franchise to operate the Caledonian sleeper service will run for 15 years, according to the Government.


Image: Under the project, Network Rail will be responsible for the delivery of the Edinburgh to Glasgow Improvements Programme (EGIP). Photo: Phil Scott

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