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Engineers start breaking up track as Glasgow Queen Street closes for 20-week renovation

Engineers have begun breaking up over 10,000 tonnes of slab track in the Glasgow Queen Street tunnel as part of the station’s major renovation works.

The high level station closed to trains on 20 March for the improvements and is set to reopen on 8 August, with more than 4,000m of new rails installed.

Engineers will break up the two lines of track separately in the 918m-long tunnel and use special engineering trains to take away the old material and deliver replacements.

Phil Verster, managing director of the ScotRail Alliance, said: “The renewal of the track through Queen Street tunnel is a very complex and technically challenging project and our engineers are working around-the-clock to complete this vital work as quickly as possible for our passengers.

“The work we are doing in the tunnel combined with the electrification of key routes and the wider redevelopment of Queen Street station will deliver significant and ongoing benefits for our customers for decades to come.

“While we understand the disruption this closure has caused to customers, we would also like to thank them for how quickly they have adapted to the new alterative arrangements being used to keep the vast majority of services running via the low level station.”

Engineers have already renewed track and key junctions to the north of the tunnel near Cowlairs and started lengthening and rebuilding platforms and track layouts within the station.

The tracks are also being lowered to allow for electrification as part of the Edinburgh Glasgow Improvement Programme (EGIP).

EGIP will see the main Edinburgh-Glasgow line, via Falkirk High, electrified by the end of 2016, and a new fleet of 70 Hitachi Class 385s running on a number of routes by December 2018. 

RTM interviewed Ian McConnell, programmes & transformation director at ScotRail Alliance, and Jon Veitch, general manager in Scotland for Hitachi, in its last edition to find out how the construction of the Class 385s was progressing.

(Image c. Jane Barlow from PA Wire/ Press Association Images)


GW   15/04/2016 at 17:28

Is slab track so good? 20 weeks of disruption; previous instances of long possessions to undertake repairs; more prone to flooding problems. Hardly good for the travelling public over its lifespan.

Andrew Gwilt   16/04/2016 at 09:45

As Glasgow Queen Street is to be closed for 20 weeks. That would mean most passengers would have to use other stations in Glasgow including Glasgow Central because of track maintenance works and also electrification works to electrify the Glasgow-Edinburgh line that will replace the Diesel Multiple Unit trains with Class 380's and Class 385's Electric Multiple Unit trains with the Class 385's to be built during this year and next year.

Nonsuchmike   16/04/2016 at 16:31

I don't think this is an indictment of whether slab track is good or bad, or whether the installation of it was poorly or well done, I think it is to do with the track needing lowering to accommodate the wire for electrification and the pantograph collector. The other option would be to heighten the tunnel which is probably a No-No, so the whole track has to be lowered. While they are about it they will almost certainly improve the drainage in and around the tunnel itself, around the station and also improve rail layouts and turnouts to accommodate increased traffic expected when the new train-sets arrive. Scotland's railway is really going places and leaves their english cousins decidedly in the shade when it comes to progress and the will to effect rail improvements.

Dr P.N. Jarvis   17/04/2016 at 00:02

How long ago was the slab track installed?

Martin Cox   18/04/2016 at 14:26

In the 1970s the tunnel was cracking and in very poor condtion. The slab track was installed as part of the measures to mitigate against further failure. Digging out to install a conventional ballast system was considered to be risky. The concrete was delivered on a conveyor system and getting the mix right was a matter of trial and error for the BR team.

Chris M   20/04/2016 at 04:18

GW, the 20 week period includes lengthening the platforms southwards, a very large job. The process of replacing the old slab track is not in itself responsible for the 20-week closure duration.

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