Scotland outlines vision for next ten years of rail investment

Scotland’s transport body has published its new rail investment strategy which will cover investments and improvements across the nation for the next decade.

Transport Scotland’s Rail Enhancements and Capital Investment Strategy will see a move to a “pipeline-based approach” and reveals how funding will be targeted over the entire rail network. The new approach is said to make best use of public funds at every stage of project design, development and delivery.

Announcing the plans, transport minister Humza Yousaf said the new strategy will help to improve the value for money and timescale of projects after recent problems were encountered on the Edinburgh-Glasgow line.

The minister also used the announcement to warn passengers across Scotland that the organisation was still £460m short of the money it would need to cover all of the improvements it has been advised to complete.

Commenting on the strategy, Yousaf said: “‘We’ve learnt from the experience of this and previous control periods. We’ve listened to the views of local communities and the rail industry. Our strategy will bring to life the new pipeline approach. It will deliver a framework for rail investment with a sharp focus on the right solutions for passengers and freight users, greater efficiency, oversight and value for money’. Despite our strong track record since 2007, future investment in Scotland’s railways is set against a real terms reduction in rail funding from the UK government, which threatens sustainable, progressive investment in rail services. The decisions of the UK government have created a gap of £460m of the funding that the rail industry has advised us it needs to deliver the improvements required to meet demands for rail.”

Transport Scotland will now be hosting a series of workshops across the country to provide further information on the strategy and how to apply for the recently announced Local Rail Development Fund.

Dr John McCormick, chairman of the Scottish Association of Public Transport, said: “The workshops will provide a great opportunity to understand how the new process will operate and how we might influence future investment decisions. Having campaigned for many years for rail improvements, we are very interested to hear how the Local Rail Development Fund can assist local communities to achieve their objectives. We will certainly be attending and encourage all those associations, organisations and groups with an interest in Scotland’s railway to do likewise.”

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