1. Ministerial ambitions for Scotland's railways
1.1 The updated Government Economic Strategy (GES) set out how the Scottish Government will continue to deliver on the purpose set in 2007 to make Scotland a more successful country with opportunities for all to flourish, through increasing sustainable economic growth. The rail industry has a critical role to play in this by delivering high quality rail infrastructure and services:
- which are attuned to Scotland's needs
- which are efficient and represent good value for money for passengers, freight customers and taxpayers
- which support our businesses and communities by connecting towns, cities and rural areas
- which support a greener Scotland by offering real alternatives to road and air travel, including the transportation of goods
- which allow us and our visitors to enjoy all that Scotland has to offer
1.2 It is our ambition that Scotland's railways are a source of pride, with an international reputation for efficiency and service, supporting sustainable economic growth to make Scotland a better place to live and a more competitive place to do business.
1.3 This government has made record levels of investment in support of its ambitions for rail, including new passenger lines to Alloa and between Airdrie and Bathgate, new trains, new services and new stations. The number of rail passenger journeys has also increased by 30% since 2004, and passenger satisfaction rates are consistently high.
1.4 It is in the context of this ambition and on the record of investment and expansion of rail in Scotland under this government that we publish this HLOS and set out our plans for continued investment to support growth over the period 2014-2019.