Scotland’s transport minister Keith Brown has unveiled plans to inject £5bn into Scotland’s railways in the next five year funding period starting in 2014.
Brown’s statement to the Scottish Parliament covered the next passenger franchise and funding arrangements for Network Rail, both due for renewal in 2014 and included:
- £3bn investment in rail infrastructure during 2014-2019
- Additional £1bn of government backed-industry investment in strategic network enhancements
- Further funding of around £1bn over five years for ScotRail and Caledonian sleeper franchised services
- The creation of Community Rail Partnerships
- More rigorous standards for train performance
- A dedicated franchise to secure the future of the Caledonian Sleepers
Brown’s statement also revealed that during 2014-2019, Network Rail will be required to oversee:
- The delivery of the Edinburgh to Glasgow Improvements Programme (EGIP) and the historic Borders Railway project
- The first phase of improvements across the Aberdeen to Inverness corridor
- Phase 2 of improvements to the Highland Main Line
- The development of a rolling programme of electrification at 100 track km a year following completion of EGIP
- Investment in stations, freight capacity and further network improvements.
“I m determined to see a 21st century rail service for Scotland,” said Brown. “I particularly want to see a fully-integrated transport network to improve connections across Scotland and the new franchise will demand that operators ensure rail timetables synchronise with local buses and ferries and that infrastructure is in place to connect up train and cycle journeys.
“I am calling on the industry to work together to deliver high quality, reliable and resilient services in a way which maximises value for money for rail users and taxpayers.
In the statement, Brown revealed that the next contract for operating Scotland’s trains, due for renewal in 2014, will run for 10 years as opposed to the previous seven-year contract, to give scope for the franchisee to invest in better facilities for passengers.
There will be potential break point in the contract after five years.
Brown also announced that the separate franchise contract for the Caledonian Sleeper services will be let for up to 15 years to maximise a £100M investment previously announced for this service.