Building a greener railway

Our bold and ambitious Rail Services Decarbonisation Action Plan sets the backbone of rail delivery for the next 15-20 years. It details how we will develop a rail network that drives innovation, creates skilled employment and contributes to inclusive and economic growth.

Committed to decarbonising passenger rail services by 2035

Plans to decarbonise Scotland’s passenger rail services by 2035 have been launched by Michael Matheson, Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity.

The action plan follows on from our PfG commitment to decarbonise passenger rail services and continue to reduce carbon emissions.

Through its contribution to decarbonising wider transport, and, through modal shift to rail, this action plan supports the aims of the National Transport Strategy, and wider Scottish Government policy.

It also seeks to remove diesel passenger trains from Scottish services, and secure significant benefits for rail freight over the next 15-25 years.

Preparatory work for the first electrification projects, on the East Kilbride and Barrhead lines, is already underway, with the Borders and Fife Circle routes also being progressed. Early work has also begun to assess how inter-city routes can be tackled to inform delivery programmes and funding decisions.  

Building on a strong track record

Speaking about the action plan, Michael Matheson said: 

"Building on our recent strong track record of delivering electrification projects we have set out ambitious but achievable plans to decarbonise our passenger rail services by 2035, five years ahead of the UK target.

"The plan looks to achieve its aims through further electrification and, for some routes, through the use of battery electric-powered trains and to work with developers of hydrogen fuel cell powertrains to accelerate their development and deployment in Scotland which is vital for the diversification of the economy here. 

"Transport Scotland has challenged the rail industry to work in partnership with them on this plan, providing real opportunity to drive innovation, create a skilled and sustained employment, and contribute to inclusive and green economic growth."

Further information

If you would like any further information about the Rail Decarbonisation Action Plan, please contact our Rail Directorate Communications Team.