The Scottish Government has unveiled a new rail transport project that would see a new train and passenger carriages built and run by a private company.
The Scottish National Railways will build a new network linking Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Glasgow, with the aim of connecting them to other towns and cities.
The railway project is being funded by a new Rail Infrastructure Fund, which was set up by the SNP government in November.
The new funding has been earmarked for a rail line linking Glasgow to Edinburgh, and the Northern Isles to Dundee.
The project will be built in two stages, with construction beginning in 2020.
“We have a new investment plan in place to deliver a more reliable and efficient railway,” said the SNP’s transport spokesman for Scotland, Alex Rowland.
“This will allow us to deliver on the promise we made in our election manifesto to make our railways safer and more efficient.”
Mr Rowland told the BBC the project would “provide a safe, modern and attractive alternative for many of our communities and to bring the most reliable, reliable and affordable transport services in the world to them”.
“There will be some changes but I think what we are offering people, and what the public are offered, is a real, genuine opportunity to get on and enjoy a more enjoyable, safe and affordable life.”
He said the new railway would run through some of the region’s poorest areas.
“I think that is a big part of why the public support the project.
They want to be able to get around the region and see what is going on in their communities.”
The SNP’s infrastructure spokesman, John Lamont, said it would “add a lot of money and jobs” to the economy.
“It’s going to provide a lot more opportunities for the people of Scotland, and a lot less disruption for the rest of the country,” he said.
Mr Lamont said the project was also a “big boost” to Scotland’s transport industry.
“There is so much potential for rail in Scotland,” he told BBC Scotland.
“The railway project will create up to 10,000 new jobs and will bring millions of pounds of investment to Scotland.
It will be a real boost to the region.”
Scotland’s SNP government said it had spent £2.5bn on new infrastructure projects since taking power in May, but only around £2bn had been spent on new rail infrastructure.
The government has pledged to create 10,500 new jobs in the sector by 2020.
But it has faced criticism from the industry for spending so little on infrastructure.
Scotland’s Scottish Secretary Ian Murray said the government was working to improve its railway sector.
“If we can keep improving our rail sector, we can ensure that our roads, our rail lines, our airports, our ports, our railways, the water transport systems are all getting better and better and that our economy is growing and not slowing down,” he added.
Scottish Minister for Transport and Communications, John Stevenson, said the transport sector had “risen dramatically” in recent years, with “the construction of new trains, the opening of new lines, the expansion of existing lines”.
“But it has to be done in a sustainable way, and this funding will enable us to do just that.”
The project is a joint venture between Edinburgh and Aberdeen, and will see the company responsible for the work to build and run the project pay for the rail lines.
“When the new funding arrives, the new Scottish National rail franchise will have the ability to operate new trains on its own and on the Scottish National Railway’s rail network, in conjunction with the Scottish Regional Transport Authority (SRTA),” Mr Stevenson said.
The railways authority, which will own the line, will provide an operator of the new line.