Rail connections go digital
This latest funding includes provision for Wi-Fi connectivity at 26 more stations, further to the 26 getting Wi-Fi this year. Work is expected get underway in the Spring and be complete before the next ScotRail franchise begins in April 2015.
With Scotland set to welcome the world during the Year Of Homecoming, giving easy access to journey planning information on the move will be key to the smooth running of public transport services. Previous investment at 26 of the country’s busiest stations means visitors can already access Wi-Fi at stations serving Commonwealth Games venues such as Dalmarnock, Exhibition Centre, Mount Florida, Partick, Glasgow Central Low Level.
And this investment reaches even further as spectators travelling to The Ryder Cup will welcome news that ScotRail’s 40 Class 158 trains serving this prestigious event will be fitted with mobile Wi-Fi capability. This comes hot on the heels of the 59 Class 170 express trains, that will also serve Gleneagles, which already have mobile Wi-Fi fitted. And Wi-Fi will also be added to ScotRail’s largest fleet of electric trains, Class 380s, this spring which will serve the Commonwealth Games venues.
Transport Minister Keith Brown said:
“Over the past year and a half, we’ve implemented an intensive programme towards fitting out the whole of the Scottish rail network – trains and stations – with Wi-Fi enabled equipment.
“We want to ensure all passengers can get on with their busy lives while travelling and that visitors to truly international events have a good experience of our rail networks.
“While it is great that Wi-Fi brings benefits for events like the Commonwealth Games and The Ryder Cup, it is equally important we have a rail network that is fit for the future as we move towards the next franchise.
“Scotland’s business community has made it clear that Wi-Fi access on commuter routes would boost competitiveness in Scotland and we are already well on the way to ensuring online access on all of our busiest commuter routes.
“We are working towards bringing the internet to every corner of Scotland, including ensuring people can get online even when they’re on the move and seeing that passengers on rural routes are not left out.
“The first round concentrated mainly on our busiest stations. The second tranche will see relatively low-footfall stations at Wick, Kyle of Lochalsh, Oban and Aviemore all benefit, as well as other tourism-heavy stations such as Troon, Leuchars and Balloch.”
Steve Montgomery, ScotRail’s managing director, said:
“It’s exciting that our customers will be able to stay connected at more than 50 stations and on almost half our trains by next April.
“It’s vital that we stay up to date with latest digital technology – with more than a quarter of a million Wi-Fi users on our express trains each month.
“With this in mind, we’re also optimising our entire website for people using mobile devices and updating the Wi-Fi log-in process so people can stay connected when moving between trains and platforms.”
Transport Scotland has ensured that stations have been chosen for a range of reasons, including footfall, onward transport links, and those where other improvements are expected to lead to increased future capacity.
All of Scotland’s cities will have Wi-Fi-enabled stations when the programme is complete, as well as rural locations and tourism hotspots.
The move is the latest step towards the Scottish Government’s long-term goal of rolling out Wi-Fi throughout Scotland, allowing passengers online access during their journey.
In the latest independent National Passenger Survey, ScotRail scored six points better than the national for ‘provision of information during journeys’ – up two points year-on-year.
Transport Scotland Press Office : 0141 272 7195
- The total investment figure of £863k is made up of £492k for station Wi-Fi and £371k for C158 train Wi-Fi.
Tranche Two Stations
Kyle of Lochalsh
Stations already fitted with Wi-Fi in tranche one
Gleneagles (fitted in May/ June 2014 to tie in with station refurb)
Paisley Gilmour Street
Glasgow Queen Street