Scotland to put rail decarbonisation at heart of net zero plans

Decarbonising transport, including rail services, offers a significant opportunity to contribute to reducing the threat of climate change, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said.

Speaking at a formal launch of the £120m Glasgow Queen Street Station today, the First Minister applauded the substantial investment of over £9bn in rail infrastructure since 2007 that sees over 75% of all rail passenger journeys in Scotland made by electric services.

She also announced key progress in the continuation of rail decarbonisation with confirmation that the £63m Barrhead line electrification will now move to the construction phase. This is the latest milestone in the delivery of Transport Scotland’s Rail Decarbonisation Action Plan, launched last year, which will see removal of all diesel on passenger services by 2035.

The First Minister said: “With just a month until world leaders arrive in Glasgow to address the growing climate crisis, Scotland’s Railway is on well on track in its journey towards full decarbonisation of passenger services.

“This new Glasgow Queen Street, delivered as part of the Edinburgh Glasgow Improvement Programme, is a shining example of how we can modernise historic and iconic stations, offering greener transport hubs that are more attractive to commuter, business and leisure markets alike. This station led the city through industrialisation and it now stands out as an example of what we can achieve as we navigate our way towards net-zero.

“Since 2007, we have invested over £9 billion in rail infrastructure, including electrification to enable greener trains to run on those routes. We are committed to continued electrification, and the use of alternative traction technology, if we are to address the challenges facing this planet. Scotland, as a responsible global citizen, will do everything we can to play our part.”

 Alex Hynes, managing director of Scotland’s Railway, said: “As Scotland continues to recover from the impact of the pandemic, and as Glasgow prepares to host COP26, we are incredibly proud of this new station and the modern, green railway it symbolises.

 “The extended and electrified platforms at Glasgow Queen Street help to make sure our railway is ready to play a role in combatting the challenge of climate change and its impact on how we live and work in the future.

“Our engineers, contractors and station teams have worked tirelessly to create a landmark new station for Glasgow and should be commended for completing such a complex job without having to close Queen Street to its passengers.”

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