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Scottish transport minister Derek Mackay has declared a series of benefits for railway passengers following the retention of 13 Class 170 diesel trains beyond their 2018 lease.

The transport ministry stated that commuters across Tayside, Stirlingshire, Perthshire, Aberdeenshire and the Borders will benefit from 200 new services, 20,000 more seats, particularly in Aberdeen, the north east and Fife and a new fleet of trains between Glasgow and Edinburgh from 2018.

Dubbed as a revolution in rail, the train timetable, which currently runs 2,300 services per day, is expected to offer frequent services for local and long distance commuters, as well the introduction of high speed trains that will reduce the time taken to reach the destination.

Mackay said: "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."

Colin Howden , a representative of public transport campaign group, Transform Scotland, stressed on the necessity of upgrading routes between stations such as the single track rail line at Montrose to facilitate the passage of more trains from Dundee to Aberdeen, reported the BBC.

"This is a really significant moment in our mission to transform Scotland’s railway."

Howden also stressed establishing a direct route from Edinburgh to Perth to complement the introduction of newer services into the train timetable.

Abellio ScotRail managing director Phil Verster 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."

"These new trains will allow us to completely recast our timetables, meaning more regular, local services combined with a high speed intercity offering."


Image: A ScotRail train pictured at a station. Photo: courtesy of Geof Sheppard.