Key achievements over last five years
The Stirling Dunblane Alloa Electrification was completed in December 2018 enabling the introduction of new electric services on 9 December 2018. Highland Main Line new infrastructure was completed in March 2019, enabling enhancements, including an hourly service between Inverness and Perth and an average journey time reduction of around 10 minutes. Shotts Electrification and station enhancements was successfully completed in March 2019 with accessibility enhancements at 3 stations installing footbridges and lifts. New electric rolling stock reduced journey times and increased capacity and efficiency.
The Edinburgh Glasgow Improvement Programme (EGIP) regulatory milestone for completion by 31 March 2020 was met and Glasgow Queen Street station was certified to enter service. EGIP also successfully delivered the electrification of the Glasgow–Cumbernauld route, the redeveloped Haymarket Station and Edinburgh Gateway Station. EGIP also saw the electrification of the Edinburgh-Glasgow via Falkirk High route and introduction of new Class 385 Hitachi trains which has seen an improvement in journey times between the two cities and an increase in seating capacity of 44% following the extension of platforms at Queen Street.
The re-doubling of the railway line between Inverurie and Kittybrewster to the west of Aberdeen by August 2019 enabled a half-hourly service between Inverurie and Aberdeen between Monday and Saturday, with hourly "Crossrail" services continuing to Montrose and additional services during weekday peaks. Kintore Station between Inverurie and Aberdeen opened in autumn 2020 with a full hourly day-time service between Elgin and Inverness enabled by the enhancements earlier in the project to the west end of the line.
Brodick and Wemyss Bay port redevelopments were completed in 2017-18.
We have invested over £45 million to grow Scotland's accessible public electric vehicle charging network through ChargePlace Scotland (CPS). CPS now provide over 1,600 Chargepoints in Scotland.
Over the last five years, work on upgrading Glasgow subway stations was completed, renewal and upgrade of existing infrastructure & depot facilities progressed, and the first three new trains were delivered.
Since 2016, we have committed record levels of investment in infrastructure that supports our vision for a sustainable transport network. We have doubled funding for active travel to £80 million in 2018. We have committed over £500 million to improve bus priority infrastructure over five years. We provided assurance that over the next five years over £550 million would be invested in active travel. The majority of these investments will support infrastructure, including reallocating road space in favour of walking, cycling and wheeling.
The Queensferry Crossing, which was the largest transport infrastructure project in a generation, opened to traffic in August 2017. The M8 'missing link' between Glasgow and Edinburgh was completed in June 2017 with the opening of the M8 M73 M74 Motorway Improvements Project. The Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route (AWPR), which was the longest length of road under construction in the UK at the time, opened to full to traffic in February 2019. The first section of the A9 Dualling Programme opened in September 2017 following the completion of the A9 Kincraig to Dalraddy stretch.
Progress in 2020-21
Significant progress continues to be made with the close out of existing rail projects noted above and ongoing delivery and development of works within the Rail Enhancement Pipeline, with an emphasis on the implementation of the Rail Decarbonisation Action Plan published in July 2020. Around 50 projects at various stages of development or delivery.
The Skye Triangle Infrastructure Programme has progressed despite impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic. Construction works at the Tarbert (Harris) port were temporarily suspended in March 2020 and re-mobilised on 29 June 2020.
We have invested £300k in launching a Hydrogen Accelerator programme based out of St Andrews University to provide technical expertise and support in hydrogen-related transport initiatives. We have invested approximately £25 million over the past year to develop the charging infrastructure for the public and private sector. We launched a £5.3 million large-scale joint-funded demonstrator project that aims to install up to 180 public EV (Electric Vehicle) charge points across 44 sites in Lanarkshire by April 2021.
The COVID-19 pandemic has had significant impact on the Glasgow subway modernisation programme with all site works initially stood down until the easing of the first lockdown. The restrictions on international travel also impacted Strathclyde Partnership for Transport's contractors and suppliers, with design and equipment factory testing activity being delayed or prolonged. However, the first three trains have been received and off-line train testing is in progress.
In 2020-21, we responded to the COVID-19 emergency by repurposing £39 million of our capital budget to fund Spaces for People, a programme supporting physical distancing and temporary measures, keeping people safe whilst out walking and cycling for daily exercise.
Construction is well underway on the second stretch of the A9 to be dualled between Luncarty and Birnam, which is anticipated to be completed in winter 2021. The Made Orders and Prior Information Notice (PIN) for the Tomatin and Moy section were published on 26 February 2021, the latter signalling the start of procurement for the £115 million construction contract, which is expected to be awarded in the second half of 2022.
The preferred option for the Hardmuir to Fochabers section of the A96 Dualling Programme was announced in December 2018 with the detailed development and assessment of the preferred option well underway. Route option assessment work on the section between East of Huntly and Aberdeen is also now complete with the preferred option announced at a virtual exhibition on 21 December 2020.
Work is progressing well on the A77 Maybole Bypass and the A92/A96 Haudagain Improvement projects. Completion of both is anticipated in winter 2021, subject to unforeseen circumstances such as effects of exceptional weather. We are continuing to work closely with the contractor to review the programme of work and any cost impact in relation to COVID-19 and identify any actions that may help to mitigate delays and additional costs where possible.
Activity going forward
Aberdeen to Central Belt Rail Enhancements will deliver the additional £200 million investment in improving capacity, performance and journey times between Aberdeen and the Central Belt by 2026. As recommended, this investment will be focussed on signalling enhancements between Aberdeen and Dundee to assist in enabling future potential freight/passenger loops, targeted line-speed improvements and electrification of the line in accordance with the Programme for Government decarbonisation agenda.
Ongoing implementation of the Rail Decarbonisation Action Plan published in July 2020 is already underway to decarbonise the East Kilbride and Barrhead routes as part of the first phase of delivery. This holistic package of enhancements will allow electric services in this corridor and facilitate future extension to Barrhead and other south Glasgow routes.
A new, two-platform station is to be constructed at Dalcross by December 2022 to service Inverness Airport, new housing at Tornagrain and Inverness Airport Business Park. New stations at Reston and East Linton are planned to be delivered by 2024.
The Tarbert (Harris) port works are expected to be completed by autumn 2021 with completion of the new terminal building by autumn 2022. In relation to the other two projects in the Skye Triangle programme, Lochmaddy is progressing towards re-tendering and Uig is currently in the tendering stage awaiting bids.
We will continue to fund the expansion of the public and private charging infrastructure, whilst developing hydrogen infrastructure to support HDV (Heavy Duty Vehicles) technology.
Completion of the remaining Glasgow subway modernisation works and finalising testing of the new trains and associated control systems in preparation for entering service.
As we navigate through the COVID-19 recovery and start again to address in earnest the oncoming climate emergency, we will be supporting our partners, local authorities and wider stakeholders to increase ambition, pace and the delivery of quality infrastructure. With the assurance of more than £1 billion already committed to active travel and bus priority measures over the next five years, our investments will continue to prioritise mode shift, the movement of people and not cars. It will help to bring about transformational change in how we travel and how we live.
Design work is progressing well on the A9 Dualling with the statutory process well underway for eight of the remaining nine schemes. In addition to Tomatin to Moy, we have given approval to complete the statutory process for four further schemes. The work to prepare Made Orders for these four schemes is well underway with publication expected over the coming months. In addition, we expect Public Local Inquiry Reports to be submitted to Scottish Ministers for a further three schemes in the coming months, which subject to positive decisions would pave the way for completing the statutory processes for approximately 92% of the programme. Work also continues to identify a preferred route for the only section not to have started the statutory process, between Pass of Birnam and the Tay Crossing, which was subject to a Co-creative Process.
We will continue to progress design and assessment work on the A96 Dualling. On the Inverness to Nairn (including Nairn Bypass) section, following consideration of the Public Local Inquiry Reporters' Report, the Scottish Ministers have decided to make the Orders for the scheme with Decision letters issued on 19 February 2021. We have also identified preferred route options on the Hardmuir to Fochabers and East of Huntly to Aberdeen sections.
The Scottish Government remains committed to improving the A82 between Tarbet and Inverarnan, a key lifeline route to the western Highlands and Islands. Following identification of a preferred option the detailed development and assessment of the preferred option is well underway and we continue to push forward the preparation stages to deliver this scheme as soon as possible. This development work is being informed by enhanced understanding of the specific complexities associated with improving this iconic route and we continue to push forward the preparation stages to deliver this scheme as soon as possible.