RAIL chiefs are set to invest almost £5 billion improving train travel in Scotland over the next five years.

Bosses at Network Rail plan to spend £4.8bn between now and March 2029, with the aim being to improve punctuality, reduce delays, and help services become more resilient to the impact of weather.

More than £2bn will be spent on renewing key infrastructure, with £1bn to go on maintenance work.

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Network Rail is promising increased investment in drainage, and new technology to monitor the impact of extreme weather when it hits.

In addition, more remote monitoring equipment will be installed to give an early warning of potential problems.

Network Rail is also pledging “dedicated plans” to reduce the carbon footprint of the railways in Scotland, along with proposals to reduce costs by adopting new ways of working.

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Alex Hynes, managing director of Scotland’s Railway, which brings together about 150 organisations and suppliers from across the sector, said: “The plan we have announced today will help us deliver a safe and reliable railway for our customers and one which supports the social and economic growth of the communities we serve.

“Over the next five years we will continue to invest in renewing and maintaining our infrastructure while also making it more resilient to Scotland’s changing weather.

“We will also work closely with our industry partners and government to ensure we deliver a value for money railway for the taxpayers who fund us while improving the service we offer to passengers and freight customers.”