Moray SNP News
LOCHHEAD WELCOMES RAIL BOOST FOR NORTH EAST25/03/2016
Moray SNP MSP Richard Lochhead has welcomed today’s [Tuesday’s] announcement from the Scottish Government of a “revolution in rail” in Scotland, which will deliver the largest programme of benefits to rail passengers seen in a generation. There is particular emphasis on additional services and seats in the North-east.
Scottish Government Transport Minister, Derek Mackay, today announced that ScotRail will introduce 200 new services, providing 20,000 more seats per day. Passengers across Moray will be amongst those to feel the benefits.
Timetable improvements are made possible by the decision by the Scottish Government to retain 13 additional Class 170 diesel trains (39 additional carriages) beyond the terms of their current leases, which were due to end in 2018. These extra trains create the capacity to make timetable service improvements – with input supplied by local stakeholders to find the best fit for local priorities.
A large amount of infrastructure work is already committed to in Moray, with major extensions and upgrading and Elgin and Forres Stations, which will enable new longer trains to be used and provide the capacity for more frequent services.
This latest announcement means further improvements for Moray. A major benefit will be the addition of some ‘straight through’ services, meaning passengers will be able to board a trains in Moray travelling to Edinburgh and Glasgow with no need to change trains and a resulting major reduction in journey times.
Commenting, Richard Lochhead MSP said:
“This announcement today by the Transport Minister is very good news for rail travellers in Moray. In particular, the introduction of direct high speed services from Moray to the central belt and a reduction in journey times to Glasgow and Edinburgh will be of great benefit to travellers.
“This is on top of the already announced extra services that are being enabled with hundreds of millions being invested in upgrading the Aberdeen-Inverness line.
“The transformation of our railway services is well underway and in the next two years we will see major changes to our rail infrastructure across Moray ready for these major service additions in 2018.”
Transport Minister, Derek Mackay, said:
“We have initiated a revolution in rail services across Scotland. From 2018 passengers will benefit from more seats, more services and faster journey times as a direct result of the increased funding that we are putting into the rail network.
“The retention of these units will complement the arrival of our new High Speed Trains, which will allow for new and improved intercity connections. They will also make our rail network more resilient, creating opportunities to run faster services on key commuter routes and offering better connectivity for regional areas.
“This funding is in addition to the £475m investment in Scotland’s rolling stock over the lifetime of the franchise, meaning Scotland’s rail passengers have never been better served, both in terms of the quality of the trains they travel on, and the number of services running on the network.”
Phil Verster, Managing Director of Abellio ScotRail said:
“This is a really significant moment in our mission to transform Scotland’s railway. In three years time, the service that we provide to our customers will be unrecognisable. Our new electric fleet will be running between Glasgow and Edinburgh, our High Speed trains will be linking our seven cities and, thanks to this announcement today, we will have hundreds more services and thousands more seats available to customers across Scotland – particularly in Aberdeen, the North East and Fife.
“I really cannot overstate just how big a change to our service that this announcement represents. This is not a slight amendment to the way we do business, it is a fundamental change. These new trains will allow us to completely recast our timetables, meaning more regular, local services combined with a high speed intercity offering.
“This transformation means that we can set about delivering on our vision of a railway that connects people with jobs, businesses with customers and communities with the opportunity to grow and prosper. A railway that delivers for Scotland – not just because of what it is, but because of what it allows our country to do.”