Network Rail has today published its Scotland Route Utilisation Strategy Generation Two (RUS), which sets out how Scotland’s railway will need to grow over the next two decades to keep pace with demand.
The Scotland RUS forecasts that considerably more passengers are expected to travel by rail into the major towns and cities across Scotland over the next 30 years with passenger numbers set to double on some routes.
Passenger numbers in the Glasgow area will increase by up to 38% by 2025, while passenger growth in Edinburgh is anticipated to grow by 90 to 115% by 2025.
Strong growth is also forecast outside of the central belt, with routes between Fife, Stirling and North Berwick and Edinburgh and between Aberdeen and Inverness likely to see significant increases in passenger numbers.
With businesses across Scotland also relying on rail to get their staff to work and transport goods, planning ahead to meet this increasing demand is vital in order to support economic growth in Scotland.
The Scotland RUS looks at ways to achieve this and makes recommendations for targeted investments in rail including:
earlier services on the Argyle line
the further development of Carstairs remodelling, Highland Mainline and Aberdeen to Inverness infrastructure and journey time improvements
electrification of more Glasgow suburban routes
provision of a bay platform at Aberdeen station to improve capacity.
Nigel Wunsch, Network Rail Scotland’s planning and development manager, said: “The rail network in Scotland is experiencing a period of strong growth and increased investment.
“In the RUS we have identified a range of value-for-money opportunities to further develop capacity as well as improve how we use the existing infrastructure to ensure the railway continues to make a significant contribution to the economic and social development of Scotland in the years ahead.”
The RUS is the result of two year’s work in collaboration with rail industry partners and wider stakeholders and the recommendations of the RUS are dependant on affordability for each proposal.