Extra rail investment for North East and Highland passengers

Network Rail Scotland is investing an extra £4.5m in plans to boost performance in the North East and Highlands.

The investment is being made in addition to regular maintenance budgets and will further improve the reliability of Scotland’s Railway.

The money will target specific projects which will help to prevent infrastructure faults, or reduce the time it takes to fix faults when they do occur.

The plan will see extra money spent across the North East and Highlands this financial year, including on the Highland main line, East Coast main line, Aberdeen-Inverness line and the Far North line.

It will also see additional staff recruited across Network Rail’s depots in Perth and Inverness and new machinery and equipment deployed to these locations.

As part of the plan, Network Rail Scotland will:

  • Renew or upgrade signalling systems
  • Deliver additional track maintenance
  • Invest in new machinery and equipment
  • Increase lineside vegetation clearance
  • Invest in remote monitoring systems to spot potential faults
  • Recruit additional staff across its depots.

Alex Hynes, managing director of Scotland’s Railway, said: “We are working hard across Scotland to drive up our performance and deliver the punctual, reliable railway our customers deserve.

“Punctuality across the country is improving and our maintenance teams in the North East and Highlands are working hard to reduce disruption as much as possible.

“This additional investment will be targeted at a range of initiatives which we believe will help to complement the extensive renewal and refurbishment work we already have planned – driving down delays and improving reliability.”

A similar £5m plan delivered in the Glasgow area last year saw a 30% improvement in the reliability of rail infrastructure.

Across Scotland as a whole this year, Network Rail has improved the reliability of its infrastructure by 26% compared to last financial year.

Network Rail Scotland will be investing over £4bn in Scotland’s Railway over the next five years.

In the North East, this December will also see the completion of the £330m Aberdeen-Inverness Improvement Project which will cut journey times and increase service levels.

Benefits from that project will include:

  • Increase in services that call at Inverurie each weekday from 45 to 76, with a similar improvement on Saturdays.
  • This will mean up to three trains per hour and includes two additional morning peak trains into Aberdeen and an additional evening peak train out of Aberdeen.
  • An improved cross-city service, with 27 trains per day between Inverurie, Dyce, Stonehaven and Montrose. This includes an additional direct morning peak service from Montrose to Dyce and Inverurie.
  • Additional early and late services between Elgin and Aberdeen.