Much of Scotland is set to experience a “revolution in rail” which will deliver the largest programme of benefits to passengers seen in a generation.
ScotRail will introduce 200 new services and provide 20,000 more seats per day, with passengers across Tayside, Stirlingshire, Perthshire, Aberdeenshire, Glasgow, Fife and the Borders set to feel the benefits.
This represents a significant enhancement to ScotRail’s current timetable, which currently runs 2300 services per day.
Timetable improvements have been made possible by the decision by the Scottish Government to retain 13 additional Class 170 diesel trains (39 additional carriages) beyond the terms of their current leases, which were due to end in 2018.
More rolling stock means ScotRail ca run more frequent services, both for commuters and city to city passengers, whilst the increased flexibility offers time savings on popular routes.
From 2018 there will be more services 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 towns between Glasgow and Edinburgh via Cumbernauld and Falkirk.
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.
“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.”
Phil Verster, managing director of Abellio ScotRail, added: “This is a 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.”