Scotland's Railways

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Chapter 8: Implementation plan

8. Implementation plan

8.1 Resources will dictate whether any project not currently in the transport spending programme is constructed. Inclusion of projects within the National Planning Framework and Development Plans will assist delivery of these projects.

8.2 Our programme of planned interventions will offer incremental improvements from now until 2025. These set out the measures that might be taken across Scotland in the short, medium and long term. Short term is defined as 2006/2009, medium term 2009/2014, and long term 2014 and beyond. The short term aspirations will be reviewed in more detail and providing they offer value for money it is anticipated they can be delivered in the timescale. The medium term outputs will be firmed up over the next 18 months through the Strategic Transport Projects Review ( STPR) and the High Level Output Specification ( HLOS) processes. Their implementation will depend therefore on availability of resources and value for money. Availability of resources will be determined through our Spending Review process in 2007 and beyond. It is unlikely that all projects started in the medium term can be delivered within that time frame. Delivery may extend to the longer term. Our longer term aspirations will require further feasibility work to ensure they are the best options to deliver the vision set out in this document.

8.3 We want to meet an increasing demand for rail services and provide sufficient capacity and customer service improvements by:

  • Optimising the use of the network through effective timetabling of passenger and freight services.
  • Improving the existing rail infrastructure.
  • Delivering the programme of major projects.
  • Ensuring that our ongoing replacement of rolling stock reflects customer, environmental and network needs.
  • Adding new stations and freight terminals to the network.
  • Ensuring that services are accessible to everyone.
  • Development of multi-modal ticketing.
  • Improving access to stations for all modes and expanded car parking at stations where appropriate.
  • Implementing the new quality system SQUIRE.
  • Installation of Customer Information Systems.
  • Ensuring safety and security measures are included when planning and developing improvements.

8.4 These improvements will provide rail users with a better experience when using train services. We want to increase the scope and number of the journeys that can be made, helping to grow our economy by opening up opportunities for people and enabling goods to get to market as quickly and efficiently as possible. By investing in our rail network, we can also contribute to reducing road congestion and harmful emissions and also reducing the impact of transport on our environment.


The strongest consultation response was that network capacity should be enhanced, in order to make provision for all three types of rail transport: commuters, long distance passengers and freight. Some respondents considered that rail investment is lagging behind investment in other modes of transport, especially roads and domestic air.
Review of Responses to Consultation on Rail Investment Priorities


8.5 Our long term aspiration is to continue to enhance capacity and reliability, reduce journey times and contribute to environmental and energy objectives including through electrification of key Scottish railway routes. We will also consider options for modifying parts of our suburban network to light rail operation to provide more flexible local services and to allow network capacity to be used more effectively.


Station quality is also important and could be guaranteed by defining a minimum set of standards for different categories of stations in Scotland. This could cover passenger information, waiting facilities, ticket retailing, security and information on connecting bus routes.
Scottish Planning Assessment



Edinburgh - Glasgow routes

8.6 There will be four routes between Edinburgh and Glasgow. One via Falkirk High, one via Shotts, one via Carstairs and one via Airdrie-Bathgate (to be completed 2010). These routes play a key role in supporting the Scottish economy by underpinning the interaction between Scotland's two largest cities, providing for essential commuting flows and facilitating access to cross border rail and air services as well as to other connecting routes within Scotland. Expected growth on the main express route via Falkirk is already leading to some overcrowding on these services, which will only get worse if action is not taken. Growth on these and other routes will mean that capacity at Glasgow Queen Street station is likely to be a constraint beyond 2011. Population growth in other areas, such as West Lothian, will also drive up demand for better services on the other routes. There is a growing need for improvements in connections from the areas to the west of Glasgow. To address these issues, we expect to make the following interventions:

Short term

  • Examine how best to reduce journey times between Edinburgh and Glasgow via Falkirk.
  • Deliver the Stirling-Alloa-Kincardine project to reduce freight traffic on the eastern end of the Edinburgh-Glasgow route.
  • Provide more frequent, faster journeys between Edinburgh and Glasgow via Shotts and Carstairs to improve links from Edinburgh to the south west of Glasgow and subsequently to Glasgow airport.
  • Ensure better marketing of route options between Edinburgh and Glasgow to encourage passengers to use the service closest to their home instead of driving to stations on the Falkirk route to park and ride.
  • Investigate options for developing capacity at Glasgow Central and Queen Street stations including opportunities to enhance cross Glasgow connections and possibility of converting some routes to light rail operation through the STPR.
  • Support measures to encourage passengers to travel outside the morning peak where possible.
  • Investigate options for building on Waverley works to enhance passenger access and circulation space.
  • Redevelop Haymarket station by building an additional platform (0), increasing passenger circulating space and improving accessibility.

Medium term

  • Increase capacity and reduce journey times by electrifying Edinburgh to Glasgow via Falkirk.
  • Maximise Haymarket station's role as a key interchange station including through integration with trams.
  • Deliver chosen enhancements to improve capacity and connections across Glasgow.
  • Deliver the Airdrie to Bathgate project creating a fourth route between Edinburgh and Glasgow.
  • Deliver the Edinburgh Airport Rail Link.

Long term

  • Consider options for further reducing journey times between Edinburgh and Glasgow including re-signalling, realignment, new infrastructure and high speed railway.

Other inter-urban routes

8.7 These routes are defined as Edinburgh and Glasgow to Aberdeen via Stirling and Dundee and to Inverness via Perth together with services between Aberdeen and Inverness. These routes support the economies of Scotland's City Regions. Their development is therefore essential. We will take the following actions:

Short term

  • Reduce journey times from Inverness, Aberdeen, Dundee and Perth to Glasgow and Edinburgh through revised stopping patterns.
  • Timetable alteration to maximise the role of Dundee, Perth, Aberdeen and Inverness as key interchange stations.
  • Introduce higher standards for these key interchange stations with defined interchange times, better facilities and information.
  • Platform extensions at Elgin and Insch to permit 6 car trains to operate.
  • Lengthen platform at Bishopbriggs to accommodate 6 car trains.
  • Lengthen trains to Stirling (as a result of the longer platform at Bishopbriggs).
  • Deliver the Stirling-Alloa-Kincardine route for passengers between Stirling and Alloa and freight throughout.
  • Examine how best to improve services on Aberdeen-Inverurie corridor to improve cross Aberdeen connections.

Medium term

  • Improve service frequencies between Aberdeen and Inverness to hourly.
  • Introduce additional hourly commuter service from Perth to Edinburgh.
  • Introduce a faster hourly service between Glasgow/Edinburgh and Inverness.
  • Introduce further cross Aberdeen commuter services and supporting infrastructure if feasibility shows a strong case.

Long term

  • Examine how best to improve capacity, reliability and journey times including exploring the value of electrification of the routes southwards from Aberdeen and Inverness.

Anglo-Scottish Routes

8.8 These are the routes from Edinburgh and Glasgow to London and elsewhere in England over the East Coast and West Coast Main Lines and currently operated through the GNER and Virgin franchises. These routes, as well as the Glasgow and South Western route, are strategically vital for the movement of freight between Scotland and England. Developments on these routes are critical in providing an alternative to domestic air travel, achieving modal shift on the cross border trunk roads and in improving Scotland's connection with English City Regions, so are vital to tourism. Responsibility for cross border trains rests with the Department for Transport ( DfT) with the exception of sleeper services which form part of the First ScotRail Franchise. We will work with DfT to achieve the following:

Short term

  • Reduce fastest journey time from Glasgow to London to 4 hours 15 minutes through implementation of the West Coast upgrade.
  • Capacity enhancements on the Glasgow and South Western route to assist freight movements.

Medium term

  • 4 hour fastest journey times from Edinburgh and Glasgow to London.
  • 3 hour fast through services to Manchester and the North West.

Long term

  • High speed rail link between Scotland and London.

Edinburgh suburban network

8.9 This network of local services includes routes to North Berwick, Fife, Stirling, Dunblane, Bathgate and Newcraighall. Plan led housing growth may lead to overcrowding in future, especially on the Fife and Bathgate routes. To address emerging issues, we will take the following actions:

Short term

  • Restructure the timetable through Fife resulting from the Edinburgh Waverley remodelling, and take advantage of the additional paths across the Forth Bridge freed up by the completion of the Stirling-Alloa-Kincardine project, creating more capacity.
  • Improve signalling between Larbert and Stirling and on the Forth Bridge.
  • Enhance services to North Berwick.
  • Work with DfT to enhance services to Dunbar through revising stopping pattern of GNER and Virgin Trains.

Medium term

  • Deliver Edinburgh Airport Rail Link.
  • Deliver new Airdrie to Bathgate line.
  • Deliver Borders Railway to Tweedbank.
  • Ensure infrastructure is suitable for future freight traffic, compatible with freight growth.
  • Build on electrification of the Edinburgh - Glasgow route to provide electric services between Edinburgh and Stirling/Dunblane.

Long term

  • Continue to target capacity issues.

Glasgow suburban network

8.10 Two thirds of rail journeys in Scotland are made on this part of the network. There are three separate areas, South East, South West and North. The South West routes serve Ayrshire (including Prestwick Airport) and Inverclyde. The North routes serve Airdrie, Milngavie, Dalmuir, Helensburgh and Balloch as well as diesel services to Maryhill, Cumbernauld and Stirling and Dunblane. The South East routes serve South Glasgow including the Cathcart Circle, Whifflet, Motherwell, Lanark, Hamilton and Larkhall. A number of pressures will arise on these lines and we will take the following actions to address these.

Short term

  • Investigate options for developing capacity at Glasgow Central and Queen Street stations including opportunities to enhance cross Glasgow connections and possibility of converting some routes to light rail operation.
  • Deliver Gourock Transport Interchange.
  • Build additional loop to increase services to Kilmarnock to half hourly.
  • Lengthen platforms at Kilmaurs and Dunlop to allow 6 car trains to operate between Kilmarnock and Glasgow.
  • Develop park and ride options around M80 corridor.

Medium term

  • Deliver Glasgow Airport Rail Link, including enhanced Glasgow-Paisley service.
  • Deliver enhanced capacity and connections across Glasgow in light of conclusion of Strategic Transport Projects Review.
  • Lengthen trains to Ayrshire, including to Prestwick Airport.
  • Operate an additional hourly service on the Ayr route.
  • Ravenscraig new station and service.
  • Electrify services to Cumbernauld, Maryhill, Whifflet, Paisley Canal, East Kilbride, Barrhead/Kilmarnock, Stirling/Dunblane and Alloa diverting to Glasgow Queen Street Station low level and Glasgow Central Station low level where appropriate.

Long term

  • Continue to target capacity issues.

Rural routes

8.11 These routes are the West Highland line to Oban, Fort William and Mallaig, the routes north of Inverness to Wick, Thurso and the Kyle of Lochalsh and the route south of Ayr to Stranraer via Girvan and south of Kilmarnock to Dumfries and Carlisle. Train frequencies on these routes are low and journey times are generally slow compared to the car. Promoting social inclusion is a driver in these areas as is economic growth through tourism. Without development, these routes will fail to attract new customers and costs will remain high. We will take the following actions to address these issues:


Two clear inter-related themes emerged from the aspirations and the analysis that was undertaken on this [Highland Main] line. The first was the need to reduce journey times to the Central Belt of Scotland and the second to improve the frequency of passenger services. Both of these are squarely aimed at improving the connectivity of the region and of Inverness in particular.
Highland Rail - Growth Study


Short term

  • Make services more attractive to commuters and tourists by improving passenger comfort and facilities on class 158 trains used in Inverness area.
  • Revise train services in the light of changing travel patterns and markets including tourism developments.
  • Improvements to class 156 trains for passengers using Glasgow and South Western and West Highland services.

Medium term

  • Renew signalling with cost effective rural signalling system.
  • Take advantage of synergies with upgrade of Glasgow and South Western ( GSW) route to improve passenger service journey times to Carlisle.

Long term

  • Continue to refine journey times where opportunities arise, for example at times of asset renewal.

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