Richard Lochhead

Moray SNP News



Moray MP Angus Robertson and MSP Richard Lochhead met on Friday (20th February) with Network Rail’s improvements project team for the Aberdeen to Inverness Route Enhancement Programme to hear about the planned improvements which have been laid down as a Scottish Government priority for the railway.

The rail improvements project, which is estimated to cost between £250 million and £500 million will be delivered in phases and aims to provide incremental benefits throughout the life of the scheme, with the whole project being delivered by 2030.

The completed improvements should allow for a reduced journey time over the 108 mile track from Aberdeen to Inverness from an average of two hours and twenty minutes to just two hours, a regular hourly timetable, enable the construction of two new stations and a new, relocated station at Forres.

Phase one of the package which was announced last year by the First Minister is a 5 year project with a 170million budget which aims to deliver:

-       The redoubling of the track between Aberdeen and Inverurie, including signalling and civil engineering enhancements

-       Signalling enhancements between Elgin and Inverness

-       Platform extensions at Elgin and Insch to allow longer trains to stop

-       The relocation of Forres station

-       Loop extension of the track at Forres

-       Infrastructure to allow new stations at Dalcross and Kintore

De-vegetation and Ground Investigation works are already underway.

Commenting following the meeting, Richard Lochhead said:

“Last March the First Minister announced these plans which will make a real difference to rail users from Moray, particularly commuters.  It was very encouraging to hear of how Network Rail is going to deliver this package which will see visible changes here in Moray with platform extensions in Elgin to accommodate longer trains and a new, relocated station at Forres.  I urged Network Rail to involve the community throughout the works and asked that they consider local apprenticeship opportunities.

“Physical improvements combined with increased peak services between Elgin and Inverness and more regular trains make for an exciting new phase in rail services; something that I know will come as welcome news to rail users in Moray, myself included!”

Local MP, Angus Robertson said:

“As a rail user, I am acutely aware of the challenges faced by passengers on our trains and it is hugely encouraging to see such substantial investment on the Aberdeen – Inverness line.  I took the opportunity at the meeting to highlight how critical a role connectivity plays in the efficiency of our rail services and welcomed Network Rail’s confirmation that they are working with Abellio, who take over the ScotRail contract from First Group in a little over a month. 

“Joined up thinking is essential and I look forward to seeing the upgrades to the infrastructure of our crossing at Wards Road in Elgin and essential signalling upgrades which all contribute to an improved service for people in Moray.”