Published: 4th February 2014
Scottish Transport Minister Keith Brown has announced that Glasgow Queen Street station will be rebuilt in a £120 million pound project in conjunction with the Edinburgh to Glasgow Rail Improvement Programme (EGIP). This project also includes the line’s electrification costed at around £277 million and EGIP has seen Network Rail (NR) appointed Morgan Sindall and Costain to carry out the work.
Glasgow Queen Street is one of Scotland’s busiest transport hubs with trains running above and below ground with suburban trains mixing with long distance services running to Inverness, Fort William, Oban and Mallaig.
The Queen Street upgrade is the largest single element of EGIP, and follows completion of £25 million Haymarket station upgrade and is currently seeing the electrification of the Cumbernauld Line, to be completed before July’s Commonwealth Games.
Queen Street will be fully integrated with Buchanan Galleries and improve passenger facilities and is intended to create a world-class integrated transport hub while transforming a landmark building in Glasgow.
The news was announced when Transport Scotland published the final project business case which explains the investment case for EGIP and the benefits it will deliver. Queen Street station it says, will be transformed after having around £120 million spent on it while passengers will have shorter journey times and more reliable services between Edinburgh and Glasgow, Scotland’s two biggest cities following track remodelling.
As with all electrified railways, the end result will be a cleaner, greener, quieter railway generating lower carbon emissions, improved capacity and more seats reducing overcrowding, particularly at peak journey times.
The EGIP project was first announced in July 2012 and the intervening period has seen the detail developed and now includes Queens Street’s redevelopment, the detail of which will be shortly be revealed by Network Rail.
Transport Minister Keith Brown said: "I welcome the contract award on the core electrification of the route and the hundreds of jobs this will support. This announcement represents another hugely important milestone in the delivery of EGIP and shows that we are pressing ahead with the improvements which will give Scotland a railway fit for the future.
“Passengers will experience the benefits of a faster, more comfortable and more efficient railway. But the whole of Scotland will also enjoy the boost to our economy and environment.
“This is why the Scottish Government is right to invest in our railways and infrastructure. “I was delighted only last month to open the new £25 million station building at Haymarket - completed on time and on budget which has transformed facilities at one of our most iconic stations.
Edinburgh’s Waverley Station is of critical importance to Scotland’s historic, environmental and commercial well-being, and now finds itself the destination for new railways. The reopening of the Airdrie-Bathgate Rail Link and Borders line will bring more trains and passengers to the station which dates back to 1846 and was enlarged between 1892 and 1902.
Edinburgh Waverley has been transformed by a £130 million investment in the station and its facilities and now offers a modern environment for passengers while preserving Waverley’s rich heritage.
The 34,000m2 station roof has been fitted with clear, strengthened glass to allow more natural light onto the station concourse and platforms. A new Market Street entrance has helped ease congestion and increased accessibility to the station.
The station concourse has been refurbished along with the main building exterior and new canopies and station furniture provided to Platforms 8 and 9.
The station’s original ironwork features have been renovated and non-essential station furniture, buildings and redundant high-level walkways have been removed. The redevelopment of Waverley Steps, now covered by a glass and steel canopy and used by around five million people every year has also helped ease passenger flows.
There is a new entrance from Princes Street with a pair of covered escalators, maintaining access to Princes Mall shopping centre as well as two 16-person glass lifts providing step-free access to all platforms via a mezzanine bridge.
Waverly has been provided with two new longer platforms and the reintroduction of platform 5 combined with extensive track remodelling and new signalling, allowing four more trains an hour to use the station in each direction.
The renovation of the station has taken six years and the station has been operational at all times and the pedestrian link between the two halves of Edinburgh was also maintained.
The extra capacity was required to accommodate the new service running on the reopened Airdrie-Bathgate line and will also be used by trains running on the Borders Line from Tweedbank from late 2015.
The 12th Glasgow International Comedy Festival hosts 416 shows at 46 venues over 23 days with people such as Miranda Hart, Sarah Millican, Rory Bremner and Dorothy Paul performing alongside Scotland’s Fred MacAulay, Jerry Sadowitz, Raymond Mearns, Des Clarke, Janey Godley and Susan Calman. The 2014 festival runs between March 14 and April 5.