NEW DIRECT RAIL services between Moray, Edinburgh and Glasgow are among a set of measures announced by ScotRail and the Scottish Government on Tuesday.
Passengers will see a major reduction in travel times between Elgin, Forres and the central belt thanks to the new infrastructure being planned at the Moray stations, allowing longer trains to halt at their platforms.
Additional timetable improvements are the result of the Scottish Government taking the decision to retain 13 additional Class 170 diesel trains beyond the terms of their current leases, which were due to end in 2018.
The extra trains will create the capacity to allow timetable improvements with input supplied by local stakeholders a major consideration in deciding where these will be made.
Moray’s MSP Richard Lochhead last night welcome the joint announcement from Transport Minister Derek Mackay and Phil Verster, the managing direction of Abellio ScotRail.
Mr Lochhead said: “This announcement today by the Transport Minister is very good news for rail travellers in Moray. In particular, the introduction of direct high speed services from Moray to the central belt and a reduction in journey times to Glasgow and Edinburgh will be of great benefit to travellers.
“This is on top of the already announced extra services that are being enabled with hundreds of millions being invested in upgrading the Aberdeen-Inverness line.
“The transformation of our railway services is well underway and in the next two years we will see major changes to our rail infrastructure across Moray ready for these major service additions in 2018.”
Mr Mackay said that from 2018 passengers will benefit from more seat and improved inter-city connections, with the new investment in addition to £475million already committed in rolling stock during the lifetime of the current rail franchise in Scotland.
Phil Verster added: “This is a really significant moment in our mission to transform Scotland’s railway.
“In three years the service that we provide to our customers will be unrecognisable. Our new electric fleet will be running between Glasgow and Edinburgh, our High Speed trains will be linking our seven cities and, thanks to this announcement today, we will have hundreds more services and thousands more seats available to customers across Scotland – particularly in Aberdeen, the North East and Fife.”