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Scottish Strategic Rail Study - Final Report




2.8 The extensive SPT network is illustrated in Figure 2.2 (reproduced from an SPT produced map). Most of the network is double track, with a number of single lead junctions and single track stretches on branch lines. Sixty-four percent of the network is electrified (Figure 1.1). Inter-regional passenger services (GNER, Virgin, Caledonian Sleeper) share tracks on the West Coast Main Line in the SPT area. The same applies to rail freight.

Figure 2.2 SPT Rail Network


2.9 Other routes are the Croy Line (shown as pink in the SPT Map in Figure 2.2), which carries trains to Edinburgh via Falkirk, Stirling, Perth, Aberdeen and Inverness, and the Shotts Line (yellow), which runs to Edinburgh. Other lines, which are outside the scope of this study but which are tied into the network are the single track West Highland Line to Oban, Fort William and Mallaig, the predominantly single track line past Ayr to Stranraer, and the mostly double track railway to Carlisle via Dumfries, often used as a diversionary route to the WCML.

2.10 The services form an extensive network as shown on Figure 2.2. Most routes are served at a minimum of hourly and many are half hourly, with the exception of the line through Helensburgh Upper (the lower end of the West Highland Line, which was not considered in the study), Carluke to Carstairs, Kilmarnock to Troon, Kilmarnock to New Cumnock, Ayr to Barnhill and Ardrossan Town to Ardrossan Harbour. Hourly services operate between Greenfaulds and Coatbridge Central, Shotts to Bellshill, Lanark to Motherwell, Langside and Mount Florida to King's Park, Ardrossan South Beach to Ardrossan Town and Port Glasgow to Wemyss Bay.

2.11 Long distance services from Glasgow Central run to Edinburgh (8 trains, to London), two trains a day run to Stranraer and eight to Carlisle via Dumfries. Services to England comprise seven trains a day to London Euston and seven to Birmingham New Street (then onwards to either the South or South West of England). ScotRail express services from Glasgow Queen Street comprise a 15 minute interval service to Edinburgh Waverley, an hourly service to Aberdeen and three trains a day to Inverness (one onwards to Kyle of Lochalsh).

2.12 There are also three trains per day to Mallaig and Oban.


2.13 The Tay area comprises lines from Dundee towards Perth, Aberdeen and Markinch via the Tay Bridge (thence to the Fife Circle and Edinburgh), and from Perth towards Stirling, Markinch and Inverness. As Figure 2.1 shows, the line from Perth to Ladybank is single track. There is also a single track section from Perth station to Barnhill, across the Tay. There is no electrification in this area.

2.14 No local services operate in the Tay area, all stations are served by Inter Regional services. Services from Edinburgh and Glasgow to Aberdeen call at stations around Dundee. These include three trains between Aberdeen and London, and two from Aberdeen and a further four to six from Dundee to Birmingham New Street and onwards to the English South Coast or South Wales. Three trains run between Aberdeen and London. Four trains run only between Dundee and Edinburgh, and one from Carnoustie to Edinburgh.

2.15 Perth is served by an hourly service to Aberdeen, and 10 trains a day to Inverness. Additionally, three trains run from Perth to Edinburgh and two from Perth to Glasgow.


2.16 The rail network in the NESTRANS area is principally the main line through Aberdeen. The line south from Aberdeen towards Dundee is double track aside from a short section between Usan and Montrose, and is single track north of Aberdeen towards Inverness, as shown on Figure 2.1.

2.17 No local rail services operate in the NESTRANS area, Inter Regional services operate approximately half hourly towards Dundee, providing an hourly service to Glasgow Queen Street and an approximately hourly service to Edinburgh, with five trains running into England and Wales (three to London, one to Cardiff and one to Bournemouth). Ten trains a day run north to Inverness.

Capacity 'Hotspots'

2.18 Railtrack in the parallel Capacity Study undertook an analysis of capacity 'hotspots'. This forms the basis of our consideration of capacity constraints on the network. Track sections with over 80% utilisation were identified as 'hotspots.' Similarly, those sections with under 80% utilisation but which can only accommodate an extra train path an hour (for example, sections capable of accommodating three trains an hour and currently carrying two) are highlighted in this section.


2.19 Figure 2.3 shows capacity utilisation in the SESTRAN area. The layout of Edinburgh Waverley station, with a limited number of through platforms, is a major capacity constraint, as are the single track sections of the Bathgate and North Berwick Lines. The lines from Haymarket to Newbridge Junction and the Forth Bridge, from Midcalder Junction to Carstairs, and much of the East Coast Main Line from Edinburgh to Drem are operating at over 80% capacity, along with much of the western half of the Fife Circle.

Figure 2.3 Peak Capacity Utilisation: SESTRAN