Scotland to invest £170m on Aberdeen-Inverness line

Scotland’s First Minister Alex Salmond has announced a plan to invest £170 million to improve the Aberdeen-Inverness line.

Projects will include redoubling the track between Aberdeen and Inverurie, platform extensions to accommodate six-car trains at Insch and Elgin, signalling improvements at Elgin, a new relocated station at Forres and a loop extension of the track at Forres.

The work will be completed over the next five years, supporting an hourly service between the cities with average journey times of around two hours.

Salmond also confirmed that ScotRail had been given the green light to launch a new timetable in May which will include a new hourly Sunday Aberdeen/Glasgow service, more weekday services between Inverurie and Aberdeen and a new early-morning peak service from Huntly to Aberdeen.

The First Minister said: “I am determined that we continue to seek improvements to Scotland’s train infrastructure, ensuring that we have an efficient, reliable and comfortable service for passengers in communities across the country.

“That is why today’s announcement is so important – a huge £170 million investment on the Aberdeen-Inverness line that will make journeys shorter, more frequent and more comfortable for those who use this important line regularly.

“These improvements – which will increase the number of trains, improve signalling and lay the infrastructure necessary for new stations, will be welcomed by passengers, who will also be pleased to hear of the service enhancements that will see their timetable improve in the coming weeks.

“This investment is all part of our programme to ensure Scotland has a railway fit for the future and our £5 billion commitment to rail infrastructure and services is addressing decades of neglect on the railways throughout Scotland.”

Steve Montgomery, managing director of ScotRail, said: “We are seeing strong demand for Sunday services between Aberdeen and Glasgow. Adding four express trains in each direction will give people many more journey opportunities throughout the day.”

David Dickson, Network Rail acting route managing director for Scotland, said: “Increasing capacity across the network and offering passengers a wider range of services is a key priority for Network Rail and we look forward to working with the Scottish Government to deliver this much-needed enhancement of the line.”