Faster and larger trains promised for line through Moray

Phil Verster and Derek Mackay launched ScotRail’s £475m investment on Monday

SCOTRAIL HAVE LAUNCHED a £475million rail improvements package that will ultimately see a new high-speed train fleet operating through Forres, Elgin and Keith stations.

The ScotRail Alliance announced on Monday that it is to begin its largest-ever programme – pledging that it will deliver thousands of extra seats, new trains, improved accessibility and enhanced facilities.

Costing a total of £475million the programme will span seven years and see three-quarters of the current rail fleet either replaced with new or fully refurbished.

ScotRail Alliance managing director Phil Verster, who has already promised to meet with rail users in Moray to answer complaints about the service, said: “This is the biggest improvement programme in ScotRail’s history.

“Over the course of the next three years we will bring in new trains, upgrade our existing fleet and deliver exciting upgrades like better WiFi and at-seat power points. This is an extraordinary programme of works that will give Scotland a railway of which we can be truly proud.

“I know that one of the biggest issues concerning our customers is busy trains. I hope, with the programme we are announcing today, people will see we are taking action. Alongside the massive projects we are currently delivering, this programme will bring more seats, shorter journey times and a rail service that is better for our environment.”

Transport Minister, Derek Mackay, commented: “The Scottish Government wants to see more people choose to leave their car at home and make use of public transport.

“That is why we are investing a record £5 billion in our rail network, including significant improvements to rolling stock, to ensure that infrastructure keeps pace with demand and that Scotland’s rail passengers are offered the very best value for money.

“When completed, this major train improvement programme will mean that 75% of trains on our railways are either brand new or newly refurbished, meaning all passengers across the network will have access to more modern, comfortable and accessible trains.”

ScotRail’s new High Speed Train fleet will be introduced from autumn 2017 and throughout 2018 on the Aberdeen–Inverness routes.

As the fleet is made up of four and five-carriage trains, rather than current three-carriage trains, the seating capacity will increase on these services by, on average, 36%.