Covering seven local authorities*, which are home to almost two-thirds of Scotland’s population, the consultation will highlight the massive investment planned for the rail network across the central belt over the next five years.
As part of the public consultation exercise, which will last from June until the end of November, the project team will hold hundreds of events across the communities which will benefit from the project and publicise the works through billboards, newspaper and radio advertising.
Over the next eight weeks stations on the line of route will be targeted with posters and leaflets as will local residents, with the project planning to distribute more than 200,000 leaflets across the central belt.
Keith Brown, Housing and Transport Minister, said: “The Scottish Government is committed to improving and upgrading Scotland’s railway – and this £1 billion Edinburgh to Glasgow Improvement Programme is set to revolutionise central Scotland’s rail network with faster and more frequent services.
“By investing in Scotland’s rail network we are offering future generations greener, safer, more efficient services as well as improving economic opportunities – as recent projects like Airdrie to Bathgate demonstrate.
“The launch of this consultation exercise is the start of everyone’s opportunity to help shape this programme of improvements.”
Ron McAulay, Network Rail director Scotland, added: “The EGIP programme will deliver significant benefits for communities across central Scotland, reducing journey times and increasing service levels across key routes.
“The project will also further improve the appeal of rail as a greener alternative to the car and we are sure the public will be excited by the ambitious scale of this investment and the opportunities it will create for them.”
EGIP is being funded by Transport Scotland on behalf of the Scottish Government, with the new infrastructure financed through Network Rail’s Regulatory Asset Base.
The programme is expected to deliver a range of benefits by 2016 including a fastest journey time of 37 minutes on the main Edinburgh Waverley-Glasgow Queen Street route and increase service levels on all routes between the two cities to 13 services per hour.
EGIP will also see the electrification of 350km of the existing rail network in the central belt, including the main Edinburgh Waverley-Glasgow Queen Street line, and provide opportunities to increase services and reduce journey times on routes between Alloa and Dunblane and Edinburgh and Glasgow.