One of the key tasks Transport Scotland set for the new ScotRail franchise was to provide faster, more comfortable and more reliable train services.
The government's investment in electrifying the linked Edinburgh-Glasgow and Stirling-Alloa-Dunblane routes will enable us to make significant service improvements in the early years of the new franchise. Electrification means travel feels smoother than on diesel-powered trains and trips can be speeded up due to the superior acceleration of electric units. This will allow us to run more services. There was also a clear expectation that we would provide brand new air-conditioned trains on these routes, and as part of the competition for the new franchise, requirements for journey times were set, which we will meet, and in some cases beat.
Transport Scotland has laid down a demanding agenda for us to achieve on many other parts of the network as well. For example, we must provide a new style of service between Scotland's seven cities which will entice more customers by offering faster journeys with more attractive onboard facilities and improved conditions for business and leisure travellers.
In addition, we were asked to explore the opportunities to rethink the way the railway is operated in order to provide more reliable and attractive train services wherever possible across the entire network, regardless of whether major new investment in trains and infrastructure is available.
On top of all this we will have to keep pace with growing demand and enable more passengers to travel in greater comfort. Therefore, we will increase the number of carriages ScotRail operates by 23% over the lifetime of the franchise.