Published: 4th March 2016
Passengers intending to travel in Scotland need to check their train times because of engineering work from 20 March until 7 August inclusive.
That’s because, although the work is in a tunnel approaching High Level platforms at Glasgow Queen Street station, timetable changes will be widespread, involving diversions in the Glasgow area and some alterations elsewhere.
The ScotRail Alliance has established a major communications exercise to inform intending passengers about alternative trains and buses. This follows a prolonged period last year of consultation before timetables from Sunday 20 March this year were finalised.
Edinburgh passengers are recommended to use alternative routes to and from Glasgow, either via Airdrie to/from Glasgow Queen Street Low Level or via Shotts or Carstairs to and from Glasgow Central.
A map has been created to show customers how to access and exit Glasgow Queen Street Low Level station while work is under way for 20 weeks in the Queen Street High Level tunnel. Some trains are being diverted to and from the Queen Street Low Level platforms while others are switching to and from Glasgow Central station.
Queen Street station with all its facilities will remain open during the work. West Highland trains will wait for longer than others at the Low Level platforms at Queen Street to allow time for people to board and get off, including those with bicycles.
Glasgow Central will be served by diverted trains on Aberdeen, Inverness and some other northern routes.
The ScotRail Alliance said that, to ensure people can enter and leave Queen Street station safely, a “one-way” traffic system will be in place on each Low Level platform, similar to the plan that was in place during the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games.
People intending to travel will be directed to queuing areas and then be guided down to the appropriate platform in time for their train.
Passengers will enter Queen Street Low Level via Dundas Street and leave by the North Hanover Street exit if they are travelling on trains serving stations on the Airdrie/Bathgate route, or stations on routes serving Croy, Cumbernauld, Falkirk High, Polmont, Edinburgh Waverley and Haymarket, Oban, Fort William and Mallaig. This will also apply for the 17:31 and 18:01 Lenzie services.
The North Hanover Street entrance will provide the way in for passengers to Bishopbriggs, Lenzie (except for the 17:31 and 18:01 trains), Larbert, Stirling, Alloa, Dunblane, Perth, stations via Yoker and via Singer and stations between Glasgow Queen Street and Milngavie, Balloch and Helensburgh. Passengers from these stations will leave Queen Street station via Dundas Street.
The special map is displayed at Queen Street station and railway staff have been around several stations distributing copies of a smaller version that customers can keep. Passengers are also advised to arrive at Queen Street station during the works ten minutes earlier than they normally would.
The station entrance from George Square via West George Street will remain open but will not provide access for Low Level platforms.
Rob Shorthouse, communications director for the ScotRail Alliance, said: “The work that’s taking place in Queen Street Tunnel paves the way for us running faster, longer, greener trains in the future.”
He added: “We've learned a lot from the Commonwealth Games and from last year's work in Winchburgh Tunnel. The big lesson is to make sure people have enough information to make choices about their own journey. I hope this map makes those choices that little bit easier.”
Timetables are available to download from scotrail.co.uk
Printed timetables are also available in stations.
Diverted train routes are shown on an interactive map and leaflets. Railway staff will be at stations to advise customers. Additional carriages will be added to services that are running to provide as much extra capacity as possible during the work.
During the work, it is thought that many Bishopriggs and Lenzie passengers will opt for local buses that are being augmented to and from Glasgow. Many other passengers are expected to use diverted trains, taking longer than normal for journeys.
Normal train services and routes are expected to resume on Monday 8 August.
New electric trains that are being built by Hitachi will go into service between 2017 and 2019 on newly electrified routes across central Scotland, the most important of which is the line between Edinburgh Waverley and Glasgow Queen Street High Level through Falkirk High.
Trains of up to eight carriages are due to run between Edinburgh and Glasgow from December 2018. The current diesel Class 170 units offer a maximum of six carriages per train.