SCOTLAND’S flagship railway will become the first in the UK to have the world’s fastest broadband installed to transform the daily commute for travellers.

The move will make internet access easier for passengers but could also spell the end of overcrowded trains as rail operators use the service to pass on up-to-date information about capacity.

Computer giant Cisco has installed boxes on the Glasgow to Edinburgh line using software developed in Asia. It will go live when the new electrified line opens later this year.

In a UK first, the super fast broadband of 300mbps will be available to passengers and allow instant and reliable connection for the first time.

Project Swift will be trialled on the route and if successful, it will be rolled out across the entire British network.

Currently passengers travelling by train between Scotland’s two biggest cities can access less than 10 per cent of the new capability.

Wifi connection can also be affected by tunnels, trees and railway embankments which makes the service slow and unreliable.

Cisco has studied networks in Asia, Italy and the US and has worked with the Scotrail Alliance and the UK Government to bring it to Scotland.

Rob Shorthouse, ScotRail Alliance communications director said: “Our customers consistently tell us that one of the things that they expect on their journey is fast, reliable wifi.

“This pilot scheme, which we are undertaking on behalf of the entire rail industry, will allow us to fully understand how we take our current on-train wifi to the next level. We are really excited to be involved.”

Currently in-train mobile services sees 33 per cent of internet requests on trains fail and with 1.4 billion journeys a year this equates to millions of lost hours of productivity, missed opportunity for online retailers and potentially dissatisfied passengers.

According to experts at Cisco the difference between the current capacity and the new system is akin to streaming a music service with interrupted coverage and downloading the entire Beatles back catalogue in under two minutes.

Scot Gardner, chief executive of Cisco UK and Ireland said: “Project SWIFT embodies the art of the possible.

“If the UK is to truly benefit from what digital technologies have to offer, then connectivity has to be a given even when travelling at 140mph.

“If only a fraction of the time that we spend travelling is made more productive, the potential for commuters, the train companies and the UK as a whole is immense.”

Rail operators, including ScotRail, hope the superfast broadband will also reduce overcrowding on trains or empty seats on busy trains.

Cisco believe the internet service can be used to provide instant information into crowding on trains which will enable rail operators to display at the station or in an app information on which carriages have spare seats so all capacity can be best used.

If a train is very crowded then a passenger can also opt to wait for the next one if they know they will get a seat.

It is hoped that in the future it could all be tied to Smart Ticketing.

Passengers will also be able to shop online, pickup up their shopping at their final destination or commuters could order shopping on the way to work and collect it at their home station on return.

Project SWIFT has been initially implemented on a full scale train and test track near Stratford-upon-Avon and will now be rolled-out on one of the current fleet of ScotRail trains that operate services between Glasgow and Edinburgh.

The project, which is funded by the UK Government’s Innovate UK and Rails Safety and Standards Board will utilise existing trackside fibre to receive data from trackside masts.

Both existing and newly installed masts will be used along the route to ensure that consistent coverage can be trialled along the line, regardless of tunnels and cuttings.