|A fleet of brand new electric trains will be rolling out in Scotland thanks to a deal worth over £200m announced by John Swinney today.
Government agency Transport Scotland will fund the contract with Siemens and HSBC to provide 130 new rail carriages from December 2010 – adding 9,000 seats to the Scottish network. The deal will also lead to 134 new jobs being created in Scotland to operate and maintain the new fleet and expanded depot facilities.
Franchise operator First ScotRail led the procurement process and is expected to award the contract formally later this month following a mandatory contractual “standstill” period.
Passenger demand is predicted to rise considerably over the next decade and passengers’ travelling experience will now significantly improve as the Scottish Government moves to deliver a modern, more efficient rail network over the next three years and beyond.
Mr Swinney, the Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Sustainable Growth, said:
"It is really encouraging to see passenger numbers on our rail network increasing, but if we want that to continue, and if we want to encourage more Scots to switch from their cars to public transport, we need to continue to invest in our rail network.
"These new trains are crucial in our sustained programme of investment in the rail network to reap significant benefits for our economy and our environment by cutting emissions and improving our economic prosperity and business competitiveness.
"Scottish passengers deserve the best from our rail services and the announcement today shows the strength of our commitment to deliver a rail network fit for 21st century travel. Tens of thousands of commuters from across the West of Scotland will experience the benefits of this investment, as will leisure travellers, across a wide area from Gourock to Glasgow to Ayr.
"With this acquisition, other rolling stock will be released to service the Airdrie to Bathgate line, providing significant additional capacity on services connecting stations between Edinburgh and Glasgow.
"I am particularly pleased that through this deal we can expect 134 new jobs in Scotland, including drivers, train staff, cleaning staff and other new personnel based at a new state of the art depot at Shields Road, Glasgow."
Mary Grant, managing director of First ScotRail, said:
"This is the biggest electric trains order in Scotland for a decade. It will result in extra trains – and services – at a time when more and more people are choosing rail as their preferred means of travel.
"The new trains, in addition to providing extra capacity in Ayrshire and Inverclyde, will allow the release of rolling stock to operate on other key routes such as Airdrie-Bathgate.
"They will be maintained at our Shields Road depot in Glasgow, where there will be significant investment - and an expanded workforce."
The new trains will also run new passenger services on the forthcoming Glasgow Airport Rail Link.
About two-thirds of passenger journeys in Scotland are currently made in Glasgow and surrounding areas and the new rolling stock will deliver greater capacity and benefits for passengers in Ayrshire and Inverclyde - in effect creating a new sub-fleet in the West of Scotland which will accommodate predicted future passenger growth in the Glasgow suburban network.
The trains will be fully air-conditioned and spacious, with full disabled access, provision for cyclists and luggage, as well as CCTV and power sockets for laptops.
Transport Scotland will now also fund a programme of platform extensions across Ayrshire and Inverclyde to accommodate the introduction of longer trains. Development and feasibility work is currently underway by Network Rail to enable delivery by December 2010.
The deal will also release trains from the current fleet which will be redeployed to operate services on Transport Scotland’s £300m Airdrie-Bathgate project, currently being delivered by Network Rail and due for completion in 2010.
Further benefits from the deal include First ScotRail expanding maintenance facilities and its workforce in Scotland.
Christian Roth, managing director of Siemens Transportation Systems said:
"Siemens has a reputation for on time delivery, rail maintenance and depot solutions to rail operators and owners in the UK.
"The award of this contract is another important landmark for Siemens and we look forward to working with First ScotRail and Transport Scotland on this exciting project which will firmly establish Siemens as a key supplier of rolling stock north of the border."
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