Local councillors Peter Bellarby and Ian Mollison have welcomed the announcement by the Westminster Government that new trains have been ordered for the Aberdeen - Stonehaven - London service.
The new trains will be introduced 2018 and will be bimode, meaning that they will use electric power south of Edinburgh and diesel power north of Edinburgh. Also announced by the Westminster Government is a considerable further programme of electrification in England and Wales and a programme of improvements to the East Coast line in England. The improvements include providing four tracks south of Peterborough and providing an improved alternative route for freight trains between Doncaster and Peterborough which will give more capacity on the main line.
Councillor Bellarby said: “It is good that we will be getting new trains to replace the aging high speed trains used on services to London. It is rather a pity that they have to be bimode since all-electric trains are cheaper to build, run and operate. If the Scottish government had been more committed to electrification we could have the Edinburgh - Aberdeen line electrified and electric trains introduced. Instead the Scottish Government has scaled back electrification plans in Scotland. Electrification to Stirling and Dunblane has been removed from the present phase and so getting the wires up as far as Aberdeen is receding even further into the future. Improvements to the East Coast line in England will benefit Stonehaven and Aberdeen as punctuality will be improved and there will be the scope for additional trains, hopefully including Aberdeen.”
Councillor Mollison added: “Electric trains are greener and better for the environment. The Scottish Government needs to reconsider its plans and get the line to Aberdeen electrified sooner rather than later. This would not only benefit long distance services but also making it easier to introduce an improved local service in the Aberdeen area including a decent train service for Portlethen and a reopened station at Newtonhill. The bimode trains that have just been ordered could be used elsewhere in the network once electrification has been carried out.”