A £1 million ‘winter train’ is part of plans by the ScotRail Alliance to ensure rail journeys are not affected by bad weather this winter.

The new train will be used to defrost points and other 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.

With Storm Caroline set to hit Scotland in the coming days, a number of measures have been put in place by the ScotRail Alliance to make sure services are not adversely affected.

As well as the new train, specialist meteorologists will map weather events as they approach, teams will work to identify and remove any potentially dead and dangerous trees which could be blown over the tracks, and a helicopter fitted with thermal imaging equipment will be used to highlight to engineers areas where cold weather could cause problems.

Across Scotland, 10 snowplough trains will be on stand-by, and maintenance depots are to be fitted with high pressure hot water ‘jet washes’ to reduce the time required to defrost trains, and get them back in service quicker.

David Dickson, ScotRail Alliance infrastructure director, said: “Winter is a particularly challenging time for the railway - snow and ice can damage trains, and can prevent the supporting infrastructure from working correctly.

“We have invested in specialist equipment, so that when bad weather strikes we can keep our customers moving."

Humza Yousaf MSP, Scottish Government Minister for Transport and the Islands, said: "Passengers can be reassured every effort is being made to make Scotland’s railways as resilient as possible, from using technology to pinpoint potential problems to having snow ploughs at the ready."

And Mr Dickson added: “We’ll keep our customers up-to-date with the latest travel information on the ScotRail app, our website, and our Twitter feed.”