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Abellio to improve Scottish cycle rail facilities

9th October 2014

Bike racks, Utrecht

Abellio, a subsidiary of Dutch rail company NS (Nederlandse Spoorwegen), has been awarded the ScotRail franchise. Dutch website NOS.nl reports that the contract is for seven years, with an option for a three-year extension.

Abellio intends to use the expertise of NS in Holland to improve cycle rail facilities. They are to invest £1.6m in cycle parking facilities, and there will be cycle hire points at stations. 

The Abellio website says that the cycle parking will be at fully staffed Dutch-style 'Cyclepoints' at key city hubs, and 'Cycleparks+' at five other stations. The cycle hire scheme will operate at ten stations, and will be an extension of the existing 'Bike & Go' scheme. It also mentions improved off peak cycle capacity on trains. 

Other non-cycling improvements will be more trains, and more comfortable trains, particularly on longer journeys, such as Edinburgh to Inverness. Some fares will be reduced, and there'll be free wifi on all trains, plus better catering. 

Abellio has existed since 2001, and amongst other services, it runs Merseyrail and Northern Rail (both in partnership with Serco), and Abellio Greater Anglia. It has been profitable for a number of years, and the profits contribute to the finances of NS. Abellio's head office is currently in London, but will be moved to Scotland next year.

While the promises on cycling are encouraging, many people who travelled on Northern Rail services at the time of the Tour de France in Yorkshire will remember that promises of extra carriages and trains were not kept.

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