Train passengers have been assured they will kept up-to-date if bad weather leads to timetable changes.

With temperatures set to drop this week, the ScotRail Alliance has warned that freezing conditions and snow can have a significant impact on the railway, affecting the reliability of our infrastructure and trains.

The Alliance – a partnership between Network Rail Scotland and Abellio ScotRail – is putting plans in place to minimise the impact of winter weather on services.

Lindsay Saddler, infrastructure director, said: “Winter can be a difficult time for the railway with freezing temperatures and snow posing significant challenges to our operations.

“We work hard throughout the year to prepare, adapting our infrastructure to meet the unique challenges of each season and investing in specialist equipment so that when bad weather strikes we can keep as many services as possible moving.”

"We will also be working hard to keep passengers up-to-date and, if severe weather is expected, contingency timetables will be created and customers informed."

ScotRail Alliance has outlined its measures to combat bad weather:

Meteorologists will map weather events as they approach, allowing the company to deploy engineers to where they’re most likely to be needed.

A helicopter fitted with thermal imaging equipment will be used to highlight areas to engineers where cold weather could cause problems.

A £1 million ‘winter train’ will be used to defrost points and other key parts of the railway affected by snow or ice. The train, which will be used across Scotland, features hot air blowers and heat-lances, which are used to thaw critical infrastructure and allow staff to reopen the line quicker.

Snowploughs will also be on standby.

Engineers will be working 24/7 to prevent vulnerable infrastructure freezing in the first place, with some equipment being fitted with heaters.

Train maintenance depots are being fitted with heated polytunnels, high pressure hot water ‘jet washes’, and space heaters to reduce the time required to defrost trains, and get them back in service quicker.

Customers can learn more at ScotRail’s winter webpage: