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  • Keeping Scotland moving

  • Carrbridge, Scotland in the snow 

    Winter can be a difficult time for Scotland’s railways. Whether it's a big freeze, strong winds or prolonged spells of wet weather, we have to deal with whatever nature throws at us.

    But we learn from experience and we've listened to feedback from lots of different sources including passengers, train companies and our own people, so that we can build on what we did well and learn from what did not work as well as we hoped. By doing so, we aim to keep Scotland moving this winter.

    Better information

    You told us that you want better information when services are disrupted, so we’re working with partners across the transport industry to make sure you get the information you need to get you to where you want to go.

    So, we'll make sure our front line people, the people you see at stations, have the most up-to-date, practical information to pass on to you.

    We’ll arrange temporary timetables which, in the most extreme conditions, can be quickly implemented to deploy our resources where they're most needed.

    See the temporary timetable. 

    We’re working together with rail, bus, air and ferry providers to provide, through Traveline Scotland, an overview of any disruption and the transport alternatives.

    How we're keeping Scotland moving

    We'll be deploying a range of innovative tools and techniques to make the network as robust as possible, including:

    • New insulating points heater strips which work for longer in the worst of the winter weather
    • Using a helicopter and thermal imaging to identify any points heaters that aren’t working effectively
    • Monitoring points heaters remotely so we know immediately when they're starting to fail or power cables have been stolen
    • Using a special "snow train" that quickly defrosts points with hot-air blowers and blasts of steam, hot water and compressed air
    • Fitting snow displacers at selected points to stop snow building up and blocking the points
    • Reducing ballast depth to prevent points sticking to the stones during prolonged sub-zero temperatures
    • Using NASA-grade insulation to insulate points and prevent water building up and freezing

    These new initiatives will support our workforce on the ground:

    • During severe weather having dedicated teams of chainsaw gangs and engineers working around-the-clock to keep key routes open
    • An increased fleet of 4x4 all-terrain vehicles so we can get to remote locations more quickly
    • A 10-strong fleet of snow clearing trains will be in operation all winter

    More about our preparations for winter 

  • Gallery

    ScotRail staff with some of the equipment used to keep stations open for the public in freezing weather.

    Network Rail staff shred branches cut to stop them damaging power cables near Finnieston in Glasgow.

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