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1 December 2008

East Ayrshire commuters to gain from rail infrastructure enhancements

More seats and more trains are just some of the benefits rail passengers in south west Scotland will gain from a £28.5 million package of rail infrastructure enhancements Transport Minister Stewart Stevenson announced today.

Network Rail is already carrying out extensive engineering works, on behalf of Transport Scotland, to double a stretch of existing track to create a new second line between Stewarton and Lugton.

This means from next year rail users travelling between Glasgow and Kilmarnock will not only have more choice, they will have an additional off-peak express which calls at Stewarton. This will reduce journey times by up to six minutes and give added benefits by speeding up connections across south west Scotland, to Carlisle and onto all parts of England.

During peak periods, commuters in Kilmaurs and Dunlop will be able to take advantage of a half hourly service that offers more seats and increased capacity.

Transport Minister Stewart Stevenson said:

"The rail network in Scotland makes a significant contribution to the Government’s key purpose of increasing sustainable economic growth.

"With over 1500 additional seats on a daily basis, communities will have more choice and a real alternative to the car. We can encourage economic growth and offer commuters across south west Scotland better access to the rail network by maximising this mix of peak local and off-peak express services."

Ron McAulay, Network Rail’s director Scotland, said:

"Network Rail is delighted to be delivering a project which will have real benefits for both existing and future rail users on this route and allowing Transport Scotland to increase the frequency and quality of services. We are committed to growing the country’s rail network and this investment will create new opportunities for business and leisure travellers alike."

Network Rail’s other engineering works on behalf of Transport Scotland include extending existing platforms, renewing and strengthening bridges and enhancing the signalling capacity along the route.

Engineering works should be complete by October 2009, with the new services starting in December 2009.

Steve Montgomery, First ScotRail’s operations and safety director, said:

"We welcome these enhancements. Demand for our services continues to accelerate, and these improvements will bring many benefits to our growing number of customers."

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