A multi-million-pound project to upgrade the train lines north of Aberdeen will be finished by the end of summer.
The work between Aberdeen and Inverurie has been designed to reduce journey times and increase the number of services running to Elgin and Inverness.
Beginning in May, Network Rail engineers will lay 40,000 sleepers stretching 10 miles and replace or refurbish 19 separate bridges around the north-east.
The 15-week project, which will double the track and improve signalling, follows a first phase of upgrade works which took place last summer.
To allow engineers access to the lines, a series of rail closures will be in place at various times between May and August.
Replacement buses will be laid on between Aberdeen, Inverurie, Huntly and Inverness as needed to transport passengers.
The final closure – affecting journeys between Aberdeen and Huntly – is scheduled to be lifted on August 19.
By the end of this year, the rail improvements will result in half-hourly trains from Aberdeen to Inverurie, hourly services from Elgin to Inverness, and increased capacity for around 1,400 inter-city passengers every day.
Billy McKay, Network Rail senior programme manager, said: “Double-tracking the line between Aberdeen and Inverurie will improve reliability on the route and allow a significant increase in the number of services available to customers.
“The Aberdeen-Inverness Improvement Project means more services, more seats and faster journeys for passengers and our engineers will be working around-the-clock to complete this complex programme as quickly as possible.
“We understand the inconvenience the work will cause to some passengers and residents, but such a huge engineering project cannot be delivered without the closure of the line.
“We are encouraging customers to leave extra time for travel, and plan journeys in advance.”
Derek Glasgow, ScotRail Aberdeen-Inverness project manager, said: “This is a significant project that will play a critical role in delivering a better service for our customers, as we continue to invest in Scotland’s railway.
“We know that this level of engineering works will be an inconvenience, but we will do everything we can to keep customers moving with replacement bus services in place for the duration of the line closures.”
Bus replacement service
The following service changes have been announced by Network Rail:
- May 4–June 14: Buses replace trains between Dyce and Inverurie
- June 15–August 9: Buses replace trains between Dyce and Huntly
- August 10–August 12: Bus replace trains between Aberdeen and Inverness
- August 13–August 19: Buses replace trains between Aberdeen and Huntly