Attn: News desks

For immediate release Tuesday 2 February 2016

SALMOND WELCOMES NEWS ON ‘CORRIDOR OF PROSPERITY’ BETWEEN ABERDEEN AND INVERNESS

MSP for Aberdeenshire East, Alex Salmond, has welcomed a response from Transport Minister Derek Mackay MSP on Monday (1 February 2016) informing him that Network Rail are progressing well with rail improvements between Aberdeen and Inverness. 

The 108-mile route is set to benefit from a £170 million upgrade which will include platform extensions, signalling enhancements and the re-doubling of the line between Aberdeen and Inverurie. 

Mr Salmond had also raised the issue of the need to mitigate for flooding along the line, to reduce the risk of disruption to services. 

In his response, Mr Mackay said: 

“The project remains on target for completion by March 2019, and within the spending cap. 
“With regard to flood mitigation, Network Rail is working with industry partners to make Scotland’s rail infrastructure more resilient to the current and predicted weather and climate change impacts across the network. This should help to ensure that efficient and reliable train services are maintained, including those between Aberdeen and Inverness.”

Mr Salmond said: 

“The upgrading of this service is good news for the people of the North East and will ensure that the full potential of the corridor of prosperity between Aberdeen and Inverness will be realised quickly and efficiently. I met with representatives of Network Rail last month, and I am pleased that their work remains on schedule. 
“The redoubling of the line between Inverurie and Aberdeen, alongside the new station at Kintore will only serve to enhance these benefits of this essential transport link and help bring new people and opportunities to our local communities and what they offer.”

ENDS

Notes to editors

The project will cost £170 million.

The Aberdeen to Inverness line is approximately 108 miles long and is primarily single track with some passing loops. 

The current passenger journey times are around 2hrs 25 mins and the service currently runs every two hours. 

Question:
1 February 2016 Index Heading: Transport Scotland S4W-29381
Alex Salmond (Aberdeenshire East) (Scottish National Party): To ask the Scottish Government what progress it is making with the upgrade of the Aberdeen-Inverness mainline and what action it is taking to ensure that this takes account of the need to mitigate for flooding.

 
Derek Mackay:

Network Rail is making good progress with rail enhancements on the line between Aberdeen and Inverness. The project remains on target for completion by March 2019, and within the spending cap.

Network Rail appointed BAM Nuttall as the principal contractor for the Aberdeen to Inverness project in October 2015, with main construction work scheduled to begin later in the year. 

With regard to flooding mitigation, Network Rail is working with its industry partners to make Scotland’s rail infrastructure more resilient to the current and predicted weather and climate change impacts across the network. This should help to ensure that efficient and reliable train services are maintained, including those between Aberdeen and Inverness, enabling passengers and goods to travel when required even in more extreme conditions.

For press enquiries, please contact Tom Collins / tom.collins@parliament.uk 

For Network Rail enquiries, please contact AberdeenInverness@networkrail.co.uk / 03457 11 41 41