Date lodged: 11 January 2018
To ask the Scottish Government what progress is being made toward improved rail journey times of between 2 hours 45 minutes and 3 hours between Edinburgh and Inverness.
Answered by: Humza Yousaf 23 January 2018
The Scottish Government’s Infrastructure Investment Plan, published in 2011, stated that the Highland Main Line Rail Improvement project will be completed in phases between 2014 and 2025.
The long term aim of the project sought to achieve a journey time of 2hrs 45 minutes between Inverness and the Central Belt, with an average journey time of 3 hours and hourly service by 2025.
Phase One of the project introduced two extra services per day each way and journey time improvements of up to 18 minutes in December 2012.
Phase Two of the project, which is scheduled to be delivered Spring 2019, aims to achieve (i) an hourly service between Perth-Inverness extended to Glasgow or Edinburgh, (ii) average end to end journey time improvement of around 10 mins, (iii) more efficient freight operations.
The exact scope and timing of works for future phases has yet to be determined, and will be led initially by the forthcoming refresh of the Scottish Government’s Strategic Transport Projects Review (STPR). The STPR will be informed by a review of our National Transport Strategy (NTS) which is underway.