Network Rail Scotland publish £4.2bn five-year plan to deliver improved railway

Network Rail Scotland have published its £4.2bn five-year plan which promises major investment in renewing the railway infrastructure, tackling climate change, greater use of technology.

Waverley train station, people looking at information boards on the concourse. Edinburgh city, Scotland UK. February 2018 2018

Network Rail Scotland has published its £4.2 billion, five-year plan as it set out its ambition to deliver a safe, greener and more reliable railway. Major investments in renewing the railway infrastructure, tackling climate change, greater use of technology, improving train performance and growing passenger and freight numbers are central to the plan.  

It sets out the path ahead for Control Period 7 (2024-29) and supports greater resilience of the network during extreme weather while aiming to make sure more trains arrive on time. The plan reflects the current economic reality and focuses on creating an efficient railway that delivers value for taxpayers, while prioritising safety, reliability and performance.

In February 2023, the Scottish Government published its High Level Output Statement (HLOS) and Statement of Funds Available (SoFA) detailing what it wants Scotland’s Railway to deliver and how much funding was available to make that happen.  Funding for enhancements to the railway are not included in this settlement, but Scotland’s Railway will continue to deliver a greener railway and support the Scottish Government’s net zero ambitions.

The plan for Scotland is focused on customers by planning to deliver a more punctual and reliable railway and improving passenger and freight customer experience:

  • Leveraging technology and innovation to further improve safety and reliability across the network, which will include the continued use of Britain’s first 24/7 weather desk, new visualisation tools and remote condition monitoring to spot problems early.
  • Investing more than £1.9 billion in renewals which will drive improvements in safety and reliability.
  • Reducing the net cost of the railway by making every penny of investment count.

The plan supports all who use the railway by continuing to put passengers, the public and workforce safety at the heart of the plans by: 

  • Investing more in climate change adaptation, improving the resilience of the rail network to the increasing impact of extreme weather.
  • Develop a longer-term climate change adaptation strategy for Scotland’s Railway. This will help to assess and understand the impact of climate change on the railway.

Supports economic growth and connectivity by: 

  • Continuing with work on the Levenmouth rail link which will extend the economic, leisure and tourism benefits of rail.
  • Supporting Scotland’s net zero targets by decarbonising the railway and encouraging more passengers and businesses to choose rail as part of their sustainable journey.
  • Growing rail freight through an ambitious but realistic target of 8.7% growth, with a single freight train taking up to 129 heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) off the road.

“We’re delighted by the Scottish Government’s continued support for the railway,” Liam Sumpter, Network Rail Scotland’s Route Director, said. “Over the next five years, we’ll work hard to provide a safe, greener and more reliable railway for Scotland. Our plan is ambitious and focuses on the needs of our customers while reflecting the necessity to deliver greater value for taxpayer money. We’re committed to delivering a railway that people can rely on and supports the social and economic growth of the nation.”

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