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BAM appointed principal contractor for the £170m upgrade of the Aberdeen-Inverness line.
The Scottish Government-funded enhancement will transform journeys on the route introducing a half-hourly commuter service between Aberdeen and Inverurie and additional peak services between Inverness and Elgin.
BAM, which recently completed the on-time, on-budget £294m Borders Railway, will now oversee the delivery of the Aberdeen-Inverness Improvement Project – the first phase of which is due for completion in 2019.
Over the next four years engineers will:
· Double-track 16 miles of line between Aberdeen and Inverurie
· Build a new station at Forres and straighten the railway alignment
· Extend platforms at Insch and Elgin to accommodate longer trains
· Upgrade signalling systems along the route
· Install infrastructure to allow new stations to be built at Dalcross and Kintore.
Cabinet Secretary for Infrastructure, Investment and Cities, said: "I am pleased to witness the award of the contract to BAM for the first phase of the Aberdeen to Inverness Improvement Project.
"Today marks the Scottish Government's landmark investment package of £170m to improve a key route connecting both northern cities, which will make journeys shorter, more frequent and more comfortable for those who use this important line regularly.
"This project is especially valuable for the region for, as well as the clear benefits to passengers and freight users, it will also support jobs and growth, providing an economic boost to the cities and communities along the entire length of the route."
Phil Verster, managing director of the ScotRail Alliance, said:
BAM's appointment is the first step on a journey that will deliver significant benefits for the North and North East of Scotland.
"Reduced journey times and the ability to run bigger trains with more seats will transform customers' experience of rail travel.
"This is what the ScotRail Alliance is all about; connecting people with jobs, businesses with customers, and giving communities across Scotland the opportunity to grow and prosper.
Jerry Dickson, Operations Director for BAM, said: "Together with our partners AECOM, CH2M, Stobart Rail and Siemens, we are looking forward to commencing work on the Aberdeen to Inverness Enhancement Programme. This essential programme of works will improve connectivity between the major cities of Aberdeen and Inverness, with wider enhancements for the local communities in the north of Scotland.
We are particularly proud to have been awarded this contract in our 150th anniversary year, which has also seen BAM and Network Rail successfully re-open the Borders Railway, which is now providing an essential rail link between Edinburgh and the Scottish Borders".
Engineers are currently carrying out ground investigation, site survey and vegetation clearance works on the line as part of the project and main construction works will begin in spring 2016.
Plans for new stations at Dalcross and Kintore are being developed separately by HITRANS and NESTRANS respectively, while a further phase of the Aberdeen-Inverness Improvements Project is to be developed
The ScotRail Alliance is a formal partnership between Abellio ScotRail and Network Rail in Scotland. It is committed to making journeys faster and easier and improving connections with buses and other form of public transport while also offering a competitive alternative to the car on both local and inter-city routes.
The ScotRail Alliance will introduce new, smart ticketing systems combining rail with ferry and air travel, promote the tourism potential of the nation's scenic routes and create the UK's largest cycle/rail network.
The partnership will also bring a renewed focus on making the railway more punctual and even safer than ever before, while continuing to deliver the Scottish Government's major programme of enhancement projects across the country.
Responsible for running over 2,500 trains per day, managing and maintaining over 350 stations and nearly 3,000 miles of track, the ScotRail Alliance will create a combined team of more than 7,000 railway staff across Scotland.