Scotland’s railways are in for a £4 billion overhaul under plans launched by transport minister Keith Brown.
The Scottish government’s high level output specification for rail for the 2014-19 period includes more than £3bn of major infrastructure investment, and £1bn for smaller improvements to the network.
Scotrail’s franchise expires in 2014 after which a new franchise will be let for 10 years.
Mr Brown said this was seen as a way to encourage investment. A separate 15-year franchise will be let for sleeper services.
Mr Brown said: “I’m determined to see a 21st century rail service for Scotland.”
Over the 2014-19 period Network Rail will be required to oversee:
- delivery of the Edinburgh-to-Glasgow Improvements Programme;
- completion of restoration of the Borders Railway;
- the first phase of improvements to the Aberdeen-to-Inverness corridor;
- phase two of improvements to the Highland Main Line;
- a rolling programme of electrification for 100 km of track a year;
- investment in stations, freight capacity and further network improvements.
The Aberdeen-to-Inverness project is valued at some £250-300m and is due to be completed in phases between 2015 and 2030, providing a faster service and new stations at Kintore and Dalcross.
At a similar value, the Highland Main Line improvements project is expected to require new passing loops and improvements to track, bridges and tunnels to bring a more frequent service between Perth and Inverness.
The Borders Railway is being restored between Edinburgh and Tweedbank and might then be extended to Carlisle.