Transport Minister Derek MacKay announced 200 extra rail services per day are to be introduced across Scotland, at an event held in Stirling today [Tuesday, 15 March].
Of the 200 new services being introduced by ScotRail, 70 will service the North east region, including an hourly ‘local’ service across Aberdeen city, between Inverurie and Montrose, stopping at all stations.
Additionally, extra capacity will create a half hourly service between Aberdeen and Inverurie, and the introduction of early morning and late evening services to Elgin, Keith, Huntly and Insch.
Timetable improvements are made possible by the decision by the Scottish Government to retain 13 trains (39 additional carriages) beyond the terms of their current leases, which were due to end in 2018 following the introduction of refurbished inter city trains. These extra trains create the capacity to make timetable service improvements – with input supplied by local stakeholders to finalise the best fit to local priorities.
An hourly limited stop High Speed Train service to both Edinburgh and Glasgow has also been announced, with many High Speed Trains running from Glasgow or Edinburgh being extended through Aberdeen to Inverness.
Increased frequency in services both for commuters and city to city passengers will be enabled by this additional stock, with journey time reductions on Aberdeen to central belt routes under development.
Councillor Ramsay Milne, Chair of Nestrans, welcomed the Transport Minister’s announcement: “We are extremely pleased by these planned improvements. Nestrans has campaigned long and hard over a number of years for improved Local Rail Services from Inverurie, across Aberdeen to Stonehaven and Montrose, providing more frequent rail options for the citizens of Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire from all of our local stations.
“Rail growth in recent years in the North east has been very strong and there is a need to recognise the increasing demand for local rail journeys, addressing overcrowding issues and ensuring regular opportunities to cater for this growth.
“By complementing Local Services with quicker Aberdeen to Edinburgh and Glasgow express services, this benefits rail travellers both locally and on longer distance routes by providing more trains & faster journey times.”
The outlined improvements will be rolled out from 2018.