The Scottish Government committed to electrify 100 track km per year until 2019, plus the Edinburgh-Glasgow line due in 2017.
A strategy is needed for continuing electrification. SAPT suggests that priority should be completion of electrification of the Glasgow suburban network to East Kilbride, Kilmarnock and Maryhill, followed by Fife Circle lines from Edinburgh (if Forth Bridge problems can be overcome).
Extending electrification to Aberdeen and Inverness should be phased with eventual replacement of the Abellio HST fleet (see below) in 2026.
Following very successful re- opening of railway lines to Larkhall, Maryhill, Alloa and Airdie – Bathgate, the Borders line re- opened to Tweedbank in 2015.
Further important conurbations that lost passenger rail services include Leven, Hawick and Ellon. Railway tracks remain to Levenmouth and passenger trains could be re-introduced relatively easily. Edinburgh- Glenrothes trains could be extended to Levenmouth.
There is also demand to reconnect Hawick, Ellon and St. Andrews to the rail network.
High Speed Rail
Abellio ScotRail’s plans to introduce High Speed Trains on Scottish InterCity routes (as above at Aviemore) needs a matching programme from Network Rail to upgrade track, where possible, to support speeds above 100 mph, and to double the remaining single track sections. Faster InterCity rail journeys are essential to compete with improved dual-carriageway roads.
Extension of HS2 to Edinburgh and Glasgow will bring HSL technology (as above on HS1) to Anglo-Scottish rail travel, cutting the need for Anglo-Scottish domestic flights. The journey time target is for a 3 hour London- Edinburgh and 3-hour London-Glasgow rail journey.
Route options for High Speed to Scotland are being evaluated by HS2 Ltd.
Tourism and Trains
Scottish scenic lines such as the West Highland Line are impressive feats of engineering through world-class scenery. Great rail journeys like the Jacobite steam train (seen right on the Glenfinnan viaduct) are major tourist attractions.
SAPT welcomes Abellio’s plans to introduce upgraded tourist trains on the West Highland, Kyle, Far North, Stranraer and Borders lines. This is an opportunity to develop inclusive tours combining ferry and coach connections with scenic rail journeys to boost tourism.