For over seven months the company has been seeking the public’s views on the £1bn Edinburgh Glasgow Improvement Programme, which will transform rail services and infrastructure on key routes across the central belt.
Covering eight local authorities*, which are home to almost two-thirds of Scotland’s population, the consultation, which started in June, came to an official end yesterday (January 31).
As part of the consultation exercise, the EGIP project team held over 200 meetings with the public, local authorities and corporate stakeholders, distributed more than half-a-million information leaflets and received over 450 submissions.
Originally due to end in November, the consultation was extended by two months due to the high level of interest shown by communities and groups across the country.
David Simpson, Network Rail route managing director for Scotland, said: “EGIP will deliver significant benefits for communities across central Scotland, reducing journey times and increasing service levels across key routes.
“The consultation has generated huge levels of interest from both the general public and business communities and we have received valuable feedback on what people want from their rail services which will help us to ensure EGIP delivers real befits for passengers.”
Transport Minister Keith Brown said: “The conclusion of the first phase of the EGIP consultation is a significant achievement. The responses received will ensure that EGIP continues to be developed in the most informed manner, the volume of interest also demonstrates the vital social and economic role that Scotland’s railways play in the fabric of Scottish life.
“This is just one example of the considerable investment this Government is making to support more and better rail services for the benefit of passengers and business. We are committed to bringing tangible benefits to passengers through projects such as EGIP, which will reduce journey times and increase capacity.”
The project team will now assess the feedback received as part of the consultation process and review the programme before beginning a second phase of consultation in the summer.
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 including a fastest journey time of 37 minutes on the main Edinburgh Waverley-Glasgow Queen Street route and increased service levels on all routes between the two cities from the current 10/11 services per hour 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.