A £170 million programme of improvements to railways in the north-east of Scotland has been announced by the First Minister.

Alex Salmond said the work, which will be carried out over the next five years, would make train journeys on the Inverness to Aberdeen line "shorter, more frequent and more comfortable".

The work will include redoubling of the track between Aberdeen and Inverurie, and signalling improvements at Elgin, to boost reliability.

Loading article content

The platforms at Insch and Elgin stations will be extended to accommodate trains with six carriages, and the station at Forres will be relocated. In addition, infrastructure will be put in place to allow for new stations at Dalcross and Kintore.