Our ambition for rail

"We want to make rail travel between cities quicker than by car, and to complete the electrification of the railway lines between the cities."

The Benefits

The Inter-City Express programme — and the associated infrastructure upgrades benefitting freight on rail — would fill a major gap in Scotland’s infrastructure investment plans, transforming movement between the country’s seven cities with a safe, civilised and sustainable mode of transport.


Rail journey times north of the Central Belt are in many cases slower than the car – and from Perth to Edinburgh the train takes significantly longer than it did 100 years ago!

The Inter-City Express programme would transform rail travel between Edinburgh, Glasgow and the other five Scottish cities, with highly competitive journey times, such as:

Perth to Edinburgh in 45 minutes
Inverness to Perth in 90 minutes
Inverness to Edinburgh/Glasgow in 2½ hours
Aberdeen to Edinburgh / Glasgow in 2 hours
Aberdeen to Inverness in under 2 hours
Journey times from Dundee and Stirling would also benefit from route electrification and top-class trains. And the new direct Perth-Edinburgh link would open up faster journeys from re-opened stations at Bridge of Earn and Kinross – direct to the heart of Edinburgh.


Rail travel is already vastly safer than road – you are 30 times more likely to die travelling by car than by rail.

With its fast and reliable network of train services, the Inter-City Express programme would allow many more travellers to benefit from this safe and sustainable mode of transport – and help to cut the death and injury toll on Scotland’s roads.

As well as being safer, rail travel is more relaxing and productive. You can read, link up to the internet, or simply sit back and savour the scenery through the window. For the business traveller – in First Class in particular – the train offers a high-quality working environment enabling very productive use of travel time.


When it comes to energy and environmental issues, rail beats road (and air) hands down.

Greenhouse gas emissions – which are contributing to increasingly volatile and extreme weather conditions – are a key concern for both citizens and business. Longer-distance rail journeys typically generate less than half of the greenhouse gas emissions per passenger of the equivalent car journey – and less than a third of the air journey equivalent.

The Inter-City Express programme, with its transformation of the capacity and capability of rail infrastructure for both passengers and freight, would make a significant contribution to achieving climate change targets. Getting more people to transfer from car to rail for inter-city journeys would also play a significant role in cutting urban traffic congestion.


The most dramatic outcome of the Inter-City Express programme would be the transformation in rail’s capability to compete with the car for journeys between Edinburgh, Glasgow and Scotland’s other five cities. Speed, comfort and reliability would attract motorist away from the dangers and stress of car travel.

And better rail infrastructure would make it much easier to attract freight from truck to train – reducing the heavy punishment which 44-tonne lorries impose on road surfaces the length and breadth of the country.

But Inter-City Express would also make our cities more competitive and Scotland more competitive – with a swift, safe and sustainable service, at the heart of a transport system fit for the 21st century.

Our Supporters

A word from our supporters
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Please get in touch below to join the campaign!

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