Issue 5

GROWING OUR RAIL NETWORK

By David Simpson, Route Managing Director for Scotland, Network Rail

Scotland’s railway is diverse, covering a large geographical area and supporting the different needs of our communities and business.  It provides rapid access along busy commuter routes to major cities and supports rural services and freight. Everything from the most scenic railway journey in the world, on the west highland line, through to Glasgow’s suburban network, the busiest in the UK outside London.

Scotland’s railway, including cross-border services is integral to a successful, vibrant and sustainable Scotland. The network consists of some 2700km of track, supporting 2500 daily services to 351 stations. It moves 90 million passengers per year, and 12 million tonnes of freight, everything from coal to whisky, and much of what you’d buy from any supermarket.

there are 30% more trains than a decade ago, on a network that is at or near capacity.

Scotland’s railway has benefited significantly from Scottish Government investment, and investment from Network Rail and ScotRail; improving performance, capacity, reliability and ultimately the quality of service for passengers. This investment has led to both network growth and increased demand.

Performance

Scotland’s railway is performing exceptionally well. Demand has never been higher or the railway so punctual. Remarkable considering there are 30% more trains than a decade ago, on a network that is at or near capacity. Correspondingly customer satisfaction is at a high, with Scotland several points above the UK average.

Most importantly the railway is safe. Travel by train has never been safer. It is indisputably safer than the car, and even compared with other public transport modes provides

•    1.5 times less than the risk of air travel
•    1.8 times less risk than bus/coach journeys

Much of the success seen here in Scotland derives from the way the industry works in collaboration with client and customers.

between 2014 and 2019 the Government is committed to invest some £5billion in Scotland’s Railway.

Recently, Network Rail and ScotRail have taken a more challenging approach to delivery, and this has enabled a project previously costed at £28m to be delivered for £12m and in a record time of only three months - Paisley Canal Electrification. This was achieved by doing things differently, taking a practical approach with ScotRail to deliver the electrification of this route for a fraction of the original cost.

Capacity

We need more rail and we need to use the existing rail better. Increased demand means the railway is running out of capacity on both our internal and cross-border railways.

In Scotland, the Government is clearly committed to rail, investing considerably in supporting its continued development: Larkhall, Stirling-Alloa-Kincardine, Airdrie-Bathgate, and the Paisley Corridor enhancements etc are recent additions to the network. All have successfully attracted new business to the railway, as well as regenerating the communities they serve. The Edinburgh Glasgow Improvement Programme and the Borders Railway Project are the next additions. Almost another £1billion of investment and between 2014 and 2019 the Government is committed to invest some £5billion in Scotland’s Railway.

Rail is clearly at the centre of the Scottish Government’s priorities. This commitment is essential as demand on our railway will only continue to grow. We are committed to supporting the Government’s priorities and delivering an even better railway. To do so we must be more collaborative, flexible, responsive and pragmatic in our approach. We believe that through our alliance with ScotRail we are delivering a better, more affordable railway, and can build on this over the coming years.

 

By David Simpson, Route Managing Director for Scotland, Network Rail

Issue 5

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