News Front

THE SCOTTISH Government has announced plans to reduce emissions from Scotland’s railways to zero by 2035 as part of a ‘Mission Zero’ ambition for transport north of the border. The target date is five years ahead of that set by the UK Government of eliminating diesel-only trains by 2040.

Addressing climate change is a key element of the Government’s Programme for Scotland 2019-20, entitled ‘Protecting Scotland’s Future’, which contains actions across all modes of transport.

It says for rail its ambitions will be met through continued electrification of the network, procurement of battery-powered trains and exploration of the potential of hydrogen-powered trains in Scotland.

The programme highlights that around 75% of Scottish passenger journeys are currently on electrified lines. Work is now underway on the design and development of a number of further wiring schemes, with the East Kilbride and Barrhead line prioritised as part of a rolling programme of electrification.

Where electrification is impractical or inappropriate battery trains may be used, and the development and deployment of hydrogen fuel cell trains is to be accelerated through practical trials in Scotland. The Government says it will set out detailed timescales and actions in spring 2020, which will include investment in electric trains.

The programme also highlights the Government’s investment of £4.85 billion during Control Period 6 (2019-24), with improvements including the redevelopment of Glasgow Queen Street station, the opening of Robroyston station by December this year, and the improvements on the Aberdeen to Inverness line including a new station at Kintore.