The Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity has unveiled a programme of proposed works to sustain investment in Scotland’s railways.
Michael Matheson used the Rail North of Border Conference to share information on a number of proposed projects that are under consideration to improve and upgrade Scotland’s railways.
Environmental issues are at the forefront of Transport Scotland’s plans, with electrification projects under serious consideration, while new technologies including hydrogen and battery trains are also being explored to reduce the level of pollution on the rail network.
It was also confirmed that expenditure will increase by more than a fifth on the day-to-day running of Scotland’s railways. The result of this will ensure performance and resilience improves significantly over the long term.
When announcing the programme of works, Michael Matheson said that the supply chain will benefit.
He said: “Rail provides vital connections between our cities, our communities, our businesses, and showcases all that Scotland has to offer.
“That is why we have invested an unprecedented £8 billion in this key part of the economy across Scotland since 2007.
“Scotland saw the highest regional growth with passengers making 102 million journeys in 2017/18. Despite the financial pressures imposed by the UK government, we have confidence in the future of rail.
“Through our new projects pipeline, we will address the cost and delivery challenges witnessed in recent years.
“It will also give confidence to the rail supply chain, in that it assures a steady stream of work for the next five years.”
The Rail North of the Border Conference saw the rail network – including supply chain and experts – come together to look ahead to the upcoming Control Period 6 (CP6), which is the most significant infrastructure investment seen on the railway.
Scotland has a number of priorities for its rail, but is prioritising completing current rail improvements, such as electrification programmes that are ongoing throughout the country.