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Action needed to meet increased demand on Scottish railways

Scottish railways will need longer trains or redevelopments to increase capacity by 2024, Network Rail has said as it published its Scotland Route Study.

Network Rail has predicted that by 2023-24, ScotRail services on the East Coast Main Line to Edinburgh Waverley will exceed 100% seating capacity at peak times, although this will not breach ScotRail’s current franchise commitment of passengers not standing for more than 10 minutes.

The route study says that trains could be lengthened or longer trains could be acquired to increase seating capacity and improve passenger comfort.

However, it warns that these “may only offer short-term benefits” and redevelopment of the rail network could “prove better value for money in the long term.”

The report sets out a number of options for funders to upgrade the rail network near Edinburgh.

These include enhancements to deliver additional services west of Drem at a cost of £125-£300m, adding looping facilities south of Drem (£150m-375m), extending platforms 1, 10 and 20 at Edinburgh Waverley (£7m-£17.5m), and remodelling track layout on the station’s eastern approaches (£150m-£375m).

The changes are part of delivering the Indicative Train Service Specification (ITSS) for Scottish rail by 2043, which are needed to meet increased passenger numbers, government goals of faster journey times, electrification and increased capacity and the need for more long-distance and cross-border journeys.

Other proposals for delivering the ITSS include funding studies into how HS2 can be integrated into the main network, developing an electrified freight link between the East Coast and West Coast main lines, and increasing capacity at Glasgow Central.

Greengauge 21 published a report last month saying that a three-hour HS2 connection from London to Edinburgh and Glasgow could be achievable by as early as 2027.

The ORR also recently published its annual assessment of Network Rail Scotland, which warned that the Edinburgh Glasgow Improvement Programme is not on target to meet key milestones in its electrification programme.

(Image c. Danny Lawson from PA Images)

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Methil No More   13/07/2017 at 17:12

No mention of rail reinstatements - there have been no approvals since 2006. What this means is that EXISTING users will benefit from upgrading services but major communities such as Levenmouth (38,000) will continue to be left out on a limb. What a discriminatory way to plan national connectivity.

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