Robust actions to lift ScotRail performance

Investment in services, carriages and seats to improve journeys

Humza Yousaf, Minister for Transport and the Islands today outlined the key actions and investments ScotRail will make to lift its performance to meet passenger expectations.

In a statement to Parliament the minister highlighted the key improvements that will be made as part of ScotRail’s improvement plan and the government’s contract with Scotrail to modernise Scotland’s rail services.

Despite recent challenges the performance of rail services in Scotland is higher than the UK average, with almost 90% of trains running on time and punctuality improving in the last eight weeks.

The Minister also confirmed that recently announced earlier morning commuter services between Inverness and the central belt will begin in mid-December and that work is nearing completion to add additional carriages to peak time services on the Borders rail from December boosting capacity on the new line.

Actions to improve rail services include:

  • Acceleration of £16 million over two years to upgrade key junctions, track and signalling equipment
  • A £5 billion five-year programme to 2019 to transform our railway
  • An extra 200 carriages by 2019: 50% more carriages than in 2007.
  • Investing twice as much per capita as the UK Government in the existing network
  • 70 new electric trains from 2017 providing up to 40% extra seats at peak times on the main Edinburgh –Glasgow route.
  • £475m for new trains and modernising the current fleet to improve reliability and comfort, providing valuable work for Scottish engineering plants in Kilmarnock and Glasgow;
  • £14m of which is investment in improving the reliability and comfort of the class 158 diesel fleet, serving much of rural Scotland
  • an ambitious refurbishment programme underway across 90% of our existing trains
  • increased focus at major stations on prompt departures,
  • measures put in place to reduce skip-stopping during peak times.

Mr Yousaf said;

“Everyone rightly expects a railway network that operates effectively. So when things go wrong I fully understand the dissatisfaction of passengers and the inconvenience that is caused.

“Although there are no guarantees major failures won’t happen, I give my reassurance that ScotRail has learned lessons and is far better prepared for contingencies, including communication with passengers, when such incidents do take place.

“I have no intention of underplaying the effect a slide in service quality. The actions we are taking and the long term transformation we have planned underlines this Government’s commitment to improving the service received. That is why I instructed an improvement plan.

“We have accelerated £16 million to upgrade key junctions, track and signalling equipment, for example at Glasgow Central station the key terminus station. This week, points and circuits are being renewed at Cowlairs and Dunblane, while £14m is being spent to improve fleet reliability.

“Overcrowding is frustrating that is why, from mid-December, we have introduced more services to and from Inverness and are finalising details to provide more carriages on peak time service on the Borders Railway.

“I know about the work that is required and the service that is to be delivered. I am taking action and a plan is now in place. This government has a track record of delivering for our railways and it is my firm intention that we will continue to do so.”

Addressing plans to develop a public sector operator to bid for future franchises Mr Yousaf added:

“For future franchises, we stand by our invitation to get round the table with anyone who has a genuine interest in taking forward work on a not-for-profit bid. This does not remove the need for competition as any bid must be tested so we can pick the best option for Scotland's passengers in an objective manner.

“Our commitment to our railways is undeniable - we want to see a vibrant, growing industry with more seats and services than ever before. I remain focussed on ensuring the best outcome for passengers - a franchise which delivers for Scotland.”

Notes to editor

  • The Minister’s statement should be published on the Parliament website and timing of this is at the Parliament’s discretion.
  • A draft of the Minister’s statement, which should be checked against delivery, has been issued along with this release
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