A busy festive period in Scotland

RTM’s Josh Mines reports on the works that have been delivered in Scotland over the festive period as part of the Edinburgh Glasgow Improvement Programme (EGIP).

While most the country has enjoyed a lazy period of overindulging in food, drink and Christmas celebrations, as always, the work has not stopped behind the scenes in the rail industry.

Thameslink, as RTM reports on page 40, added the final touches to track and signalling work around London Bridge in December, and £8m worth of track renewal work has also been completed down in Southampton – to name but a few upgrades.

But construction is also continuing up north as part of EGIP, as well as on the Stirling-Dunblane-Alloa (SDA) electrification project.

In our last edition, Scotish transport minister Humza Yousaf wrote about what had been completed in 2017, including the start of energisation of the Edinburgh to Glasgow overhead line in September, as well as the transformation of Haymarket station, the electrification of the Cumbernauld Line and the opening of the new Edinburgh Gateway interchange station.

Over Christmas and Boxing Day, further work was carried out to realign the railway through platforms 10 and 11 of Edinburgh Waverley station. Sections of life-expired track were also replaced on the lines between Waverley and Haymarket.

And on New Year’s Day, engineers worked to install a new track ‘crossover’ layout at platforms 10 and 11, which will increase flexibility through the station by allowing trains to move between the two lines. This new infrastructure is the latest enhancement that has been delivered since an extension of platform 12 was commissioned early in December 2017.

Looking forward, further phases of the project – including commissioning of the ‘crossover’ and the extensions of platforms 5 and 6 to the east of the station to make room for the new 10-car trains that are set to be introduced on the mainline between Edinburgh and London – will also be delivered in 2018.

“Completing such a significant piece of engineering work in one of the country’s busiest stations is a significant challenge, and delivering this work over the festive period [helped] limit the impact of the project on passengers by taking advantage of what is a quieter time of year,” Rodger Querns, Network Rail programme director, said.

Moving forward with SDA works

The festive period was also a busy time with regards to the SDA programme. Works on this part of the line will reduce journey times between Glasgow and Edinburgh, and will also increase capacity on peak services.

At the Kippenross Tunnel, over 54 hours at Christmas and 29 hours at New Year, a number of anchor bolts were drilled into the roof to enable the installation of a ‘conductor bar’ electrification system to allow for future works to be delivered.

In preparation for electrification, work was also carried out to ‘height clear’ the footbridge between platforms 2 and 3 at Stirling station. This was done from Christmas Eve to 27 December, but work on this structure will continue over the next four months.

Masts were also put up on a number of track sections between Falkirk and Larbert, as teams erected masts, installed metal work and registered the equipment working from Hogmanay up to 2 January.

All in all, Network Rail completed more than £15m worth of infrastructure upgrades in Scotland over Christmas and New Year, with 4,500 engineers working over 50,000 hours to get the job done. The works that were delivered over this key period will now pave the way for a 30% capacity boost on the Edinburgh-Glasgow line by 2019, as the organisation builds towards making a faster, more comfortable and more reliable service for Scottish passengers.

Top Image: versevend





Nonsuchmike   02/02/2018 at 17:49

And not before time, either. Scotland deserves better rail communications, not only in the central region but also in the southern uplands and highlands, where Beeching and others have reduced the line to either one track or nothing at all. Put the tracks down; run regular services over them at times the public need, and the phenomenon of the new route to Galashiels will be repeated all over the country. It is the least that central Government/ Network Rail can do to improve interconnectivity and aid social & business travel, let alone improve Freight routes.

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