Bam Nuttall has won a £10M rail upgrade contract in the Scottish Highlands.
The works on the Highland mainline, which connects Inverness and the Central Belt of Scotland, involves extending two platforms and the track at Pitlochry station, and extending the loop north of Aviemore station.
Signalling systems at both stations will also be upgraded as part of the contract.
The changes will allow ScotRail’s longer InterCity trains to pass each other more efficiently at stations and will help deliver an hourly service, with average journey times reduced by around 10 minutes.
It will also allow improvements to the times of the first and last trains between Inverness and the Central Belt as well as providing a better distribution of stops at the intermediate stations between Perth and Inverness.
Scottish Minister for Transport Humza Yousaf said: “The awarding of the Highland Mainline works contract is an important milestone in the progress of the project, which is on track to complete in little over a year.
“The works planned to take place at Aviemore and Pitlochry allow for far more efficient crossing of trains, which along with the soon-to-be-introduced InterCity Trains and infrastructure enhancements, will deliver faster more frequent journeys between Inverness and the Central Belt.”
The first phase of the Highland mainline upgrade to increase services from 9 to 11 trains per day was completed in 2012 and cost £1.2M. The works are part of a £57M Scottish Government funded investment in the line.
Network Rail route delivery director Matthew Spence said: “This work is vital to the introduction of InterCity trains on the line and the improved timetable that will deliver more services, improve stopping patterns and provide better connectivity for customers.
“Throughout this project we will work closely with our contractors, train operators and other partners to deliver in the most efficient and cost-effective way possible while minimising disruption for both lineside communities and passengers.”