£1bn Scottish rail electrification on track

5th Jul 2010
£1bn Scottish rail electrification on track

A £1bn programme to electrify 200 miles of railway line in Scotland remains on track despite cuts elsewhere in the UK.

Addressing concerns plans to electrify the Central Belt track by 2016 may be scaled back Transport Scotland stated “We remain committed to working with our industry partners to deliver the significant programme of electrification works.”

The work will help cut journey times between Edinburgh and Glasgow to 35 minutes.

The £1 billion project – officially entitled the Edinburgh Glasgow Improvement Programme (EGIP) – had been questioned following a Network Rail decision to suspend a £1.1bn programme of investments.

Network rail had planned to electrify routes between London and Wales and between Liverpool and Manchester, but the schemes have been shelved.


The body – which operates railways across the UK – argued the decision was necessary following a Department for Transport move to cancel an order for 700 new train carriages.

However, Transport Scotland confirmed the EGIP was still on the agenda.

A spokesman said: “The EGIP will revolutionise the rail network in central Scotland, improving journey times, increasing reliability and providing the travelling public with more opportunities to make the switch from private car to rail.

Approximately one third of the UK’s rail network is presently electrified, including the Strathclyde suburban network and routes in Inverclyde and Ayrshire, a far smaller proportion than in most European countries.

Supporters of the modernisation programme argue electric trains offer cheaper, faster and more environmentally friendly services.

The last major programme of electrification in the UK was carried out the East Coast Main Line between London and Scotland in the late 1980s.

Support for other schemes has faltered in recent years as under-investment by British Rail and a concentration in the last decade on improving basic maintenance of the network following the Hatfield disaster in 2000 dominated the agenda.


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