Plans for a radical redesign of Perth railway station are back on track, after they were included in a list of priority projects drawn up by Transport Scotland.
The government body has recommended an overhaul of the Fair City hub within the next three years, following a redevelopment at Glasgow Queen Street.
Transport chiefs said the station, along with Waverly, Glasgow Central and Inverness, should be next for a revamp in a report published this month.
In 2019, Transport Scotland commenced the second Strategic Transport Projects Review (STPR2) to help inform transport investment in Scotland for the next 20 years.
Investigators say that capacity constraints at all four stations need rectifying as part of their remit of enhancing facilities at major rail stations.
Perth’s B-listed Victorian station was opened in 1848 and until the pandemic struck, welcomed more than a million passengers a year onto its seven platforms.
No timeframes or blueprints have been made concrete yet, however the recommendation put in place is that the improvements are completed in the current Rail Control Period, which ends in 2024.
The report states: “Following on from the successful recent upgrade to Glasgow Queen Street Station and the imminent station improvements at Aberdeen, Motherwell and Stirling, this would involve taking forward the various plans for expansion of facilities at Edinburgh Waverley, Glasgow Central, Inverness and Perth stations.
“In summary, the works to be taken forward [at Perth Station] are track and signalling infrastructure enhancements on the approaches to the stations [which] will support faster journey times and better service performance.
“This also provides the opportunity to enhance the station buildings and environs to provide an improved passenger experience, such as wayfinding, accessibility and integration.”
The STPR2’s second phase will report later in 2021 and will inform the Scottish Government’s future investment plans and spending reviews.
Work on the £120m upgrade at Glasgow Queen Street began in August 2017.
Earlier this month, transport chiefs pledged to upgrade a Dunkeld and Birnam station after years of complaints.
Perth and Kinross Council’s environment and infrastructure convener Angus Forbes hopes the investment will materialise and is keen to see it extended to connecting lines.
The Conservative councillor said: “I am delighted to see that Transport Scotland are looking seriously at upgrades to Perth Station. Any investment is public transport is very welcome as it will undoubtedly be of benefit to this area.
“However, I would have been keen to see some sort of commitment to a faster Perth to Edinburgh service.”
He said: “Perth is literally at the heart of Scotland and with excellent road links in all directions, along with a successful harbour operation I had always been of the view that Perth could be much better used nationwide for both passenger and freight transport.
“If the Scottish Government decide to invest in this area then the Council stand ready to work with them.”
Meanwhile, SNP city centre councillor Eric Drysdale says the improvements will be conducive to drawing in visitors to Perth City Hall.
He said: “This is an extremely welcome investment in Perth and Kinross as part of the Scottish Government’s ambitious integrated, sustainable National Transport Strategy.
“Track and signalling improvements will mean faster and better connectivity, and the planned station upgrade will greatly enhance accessibility and signage while also integrating better with public transport and active travel routes within the city centre.
“This will hugely benefit local residents and tourists alike.”