New technology to improve Scotland's rail network

Cutting edge technology will be used on Scotland’s rail network to significantly enhance the experience for passengers on the network. As part of the significant £5 billion package of investment announced today for the new rail franchise from 2014, significant new technological improvements will be required.

Smart ticketing technology will be rolled out across the network by the end of the franchise period. Bidders will be encouraged to develop plans to link with other forms of transport, including bikes, and efforts will be made to better integrate rail journeys with connecting ferry and bus services.

In addition to this, the new franchise agreement will also include a requirement to install Wi-Fi technology across the network by 2019. The results of the trial which began this week on the Edinburgh-Glasgow line will help to establish which technological solution will be used.

Commenting on these developments, SNP MSP Kevin Stewart said:

“It is right that Scotland should learn from innovations around the world and bring the best of technological solutions to our rail network. Improving the experience for passengers should always be at the heart of improvements to Scotland’s railways.

“Smart ticketing has clearly worked well in London and other areas, so I am delighted that we will be bringing the technology to Scotland’s railways. It is clearly a far more convenient and efficient solution and I am confident it will be warmly welcomed by passengers across the country.

“It is also important that we do more to integrate the various types of transport available in Scotland as far as is possible and I am sure that requiring the next ScotRail franchisee to develop plans for this will bear fruit.

“The warm welcome that the rollout of Wi-Fi on the Edinburgh-Glasgow line received this week shows the strength of demand for internet access on the move.

“Rolling the technology out across the network by 2019 is an ambitious step forward and I am sure that the lessons from the current trial will be well learnt.”