New rail operator promises investment in ScotRail

Inverurie Station: First Group will no longer operate trains out of Inverurie or Insch from April next year
Inverurie Station: First Group will no longer operate trains out of Inverurie or Insch from April next year

Rail users have been promised improved services and new rolling stock as a result of the descision to award Dutch firm Abellio the franchise to operate ScotRail.

As was announced in last week’s Herald, Aberdeen based firm FirstGroup, who currently operate the ScotRail franchise that includes services out of Inverurie and Insch Stations, will not have the contract renewed, despite being named as Rail Operator of the Year.

Transport Scotland made the announcement last Wednesday (October 8), and say that Abellio have said that they will “invest millions in providing an improved service and superior facilities for passengers and a better deal for staff.”

Transport Scotland say that benefits for passengers will include: free wifi on all trains; a new approach to cycling with more than 3,500 parking spaces and bike-hire at a number of stations; • 23 per cent more carriages across the network; reduced fares for jobseekers; high-speed intercity diesel trains, with over a third more seats; advance fares of £5 between any two Scottish cities.

Transport Minister Keith Brown commented, “There will be benefits all over the country, with faster services between all our cities, new trains in the Central Belt, a Great Scenic Railway scheme bringing more tourists to the north, the south west and the Borders and major shopping developments at the stations at Aberdeen and Inverness. Glasgow will be the new base for Abellio in the UK with around 200 jobs.”

Transport Scotland also say that there will be break clause for the franchise after 5 years.