The Consortium of East Coast Main Line Authorities (ECMA) today welcomed a £200m investment from the Scottish Government to improve rail links between Aberdeen, the Scottish Central Belt and destinations along the East Coast Main Line.
The announcement from Holyrood comes after Prime Minister David Cameron announced Aberdeen would benefit from a £250m City Region Deal to invest in North East Scotland’s economy.
Keith Brown, Cabinet Secretary of Infrastructure, Investment and Cities, said that, in addition to the City Region Deal, over the next 5-10 years an initial £200m would be committed by the Scottish Government to help improve journey times and increase capacity on key rail links between Aberdeen the Central Belt, and destinations along the East Coast Main Line, including London, York and Newcastle.
He said the money is part of a targeted programme from Holyrood to improve transport and connectivity in the region.
Chris Steward, Chairman of the Consortium – which works to secure investment in the East Coast Main Line – said the announcement was great news for north east Scotland and would provide whole of line benefits across the whole of the East Coast Main Line.
“The East Coast community is the backbone of the UK economy – communities served by the line contribute more than £300 billion to the economy every year,” Cllr Steward said.
“This additional funding for rail links between Aberdeen and the Central Belt benefits the entire line.
“Investing to deliver extra trains, speed up journeys, improve resilience and increase capacity in any one area along the East Coast route can bring benefits to the 20 million passengers who use the route every year.”
Ramsay Milne, Aberdeen City Councillor and Chair of Nestrans said: “This announcement by the Scottish Government is welcome. In including this in our City Region Deal discussions with the Scottish and UK Governments we recognised the benefits this investment would bring not only to north east Scotland but to the East Coast Main Line cities and regions.
“We look forward to the improvements this will bring to all the regions along the route.”
Richard Stiff, Chief Executive of Angus Council, said: “The investment in rail infrastructure announced by the Scottish Government as part of the Aberdeen City Region Deal is great news.
“Improvements in rail infrastructure in the north east are a priority for Angus Council and our partners in the Consortium and although the details are not yet fully set out this is good news for all who make use of the East Coast Main Line.”