Edinburgh-Glasgow rail programme on track

£30m Whifflet rail route deal for Glasgow 2014

A £650m rail electrification programme which is expected to see the fastest services on Scotland’s flagship route between Edinburgh and Glasgow reduced to 42 minutes, is pressing ahead, Keith Brown said today.

In addition to updating Parliament today on the Edinburgh-Glasgow Improvement Programme (EGIP), the Transport Minister also announced that the line between Glasgow, Rutherglen and Coatbridge (Whifflet route) will be fully electrified ahead the Glasgow 2014 games as part of a wider electrification programme - four years ahead of schedule, in a rail industry deal worth nearly £30m.

Mr Brown said:

“The Scottish Government is determined to deliver rail services that connect communities with cities and people with jobs, and EGIP is playing a central role in delivering that ambition. I was delighted to be able to update Parliament today on the many elements of the schemes which are now completed, currently under construction, or being planned.

“In particular, I was delighted to announce that the Scottish Government has approved industry plans to bring forward the electrification of the Whifflet route in time for the Games next summer, some four years ahead of schedule. Delivery of the deal, which will see an investment of some £29.6 million to electrify this stretch of track, will allow greater flexibility in deploying trains to help meet passenger demand during the games, as well as free up rolling stock to run elsewhere on the network, including during the Ryder Cup at Gleneagles in September 2014.

“I also updated Parliament on the elements of new services on the Edinburgh-Glasgow line via Carstairs which are now complete a year ahead of schedule, electrification of the Cumbernauld line which will also be ready ahead of Commonwealth Games next year, and the £27m Haymarket station revamp which is on target to be open to the public by the end of this year.

“Work to electrify the Stirling-Alloa-Dunblane line is progressing well and is due for completion by the end of 2018. The 42-minute fastest journey time on our flagship route between Edinburgh and Glasgow via Falkirk High is to be implemented, following completion of the electrification programme.

“With record passenger numbers over last year at over 83 million – up one third since the start of franchise, more than 2,400 services a day, and recent surveys showing passenger satisfaction high, we’re making significant strides to meet our ambitions for the rail network in Scotland, with EGIP playing a key role in that.

“Elsewhere, further progress has been made on the new Caledonian Sleeper franchise, with Pre-Qualification Questionnaires returned from four bidding parties and invites to tender for the new longer 15-year contract due to issue later this summer. Coupled with the £100m plus made available for the upgrade to what is a unique and special service, we are preparing the ground for a new enhanced Caledonian Sleeper.

“We want to continue to build on our track record of developing the rail network and services. Since 2007, we’ve seen eight new stations and 30 miles of new track built, and recently made a £30m fund available for more new stations and station upgrades in the coming years. Construction of the £295m Borders Railway, which will see 35 miles more track connecting communities with cities and people with jobs, is also well under way with passenger services due to run in 2015.

“Our £5 billion programme of investment in Scotland’s rail infrastructure and services between 2014 and 2019, including £3 billion of capital investment to support the operation and maintenance of our existing network, will enable us to take forward a series of strategic enhancement projects right across our rail network.

“All of this is tangible evidence of our determination to make investments that will leave a lasting legacy and crucially build a railway for the people of Scotland fit for the 21st century.”

Published 30 May 2013