A £200 million plan to upgrade the railway line between Aberdeen and Inverness has been announced, in a move which could see journey times along the route cut to just 2 hours.
Details of the plan, which include offering an hourly service between the two cities, could also see increased local capacity, with a half-hourly service introduced between Aberdeen and Inverurie, together with a new station at Kintore.
The ‘Initial Industry Plan’, published last week, gives details of the major projects which Network Rail plans to undertake between 2014-2019. In addition to the Aberdeen-Inverness line improvements, increased capacity is also planned on services between Aberdeen and Dundee. However, electrification north of Edinburgh falls outside the plans, although the electrification of lines elsewhere may free up diesel trains for use further north.
The report’s publication was welcomed by Aberdeenshire Council Leader Anne Robertson, who described the plans as “good news” for the North East.
“It recognises the need for a new station at Kintore and an upgrade to the Aberdeen to Inverness line, which are projects that we have been making a strong case for over the last few years”, she said. “With a 46% increase in passenger numbers at stations in the North East since 2005 this initial plan needs to be delivered as part of the integrated transport network that will support the economy across Aberdeen City and Shire.
“We will be pressing Network Rail for the early delivery of these works.”