Network Rail has awarded £10m-worth of contracts as work on a new, £1bn programme to enhance rail services and infrastructure in Scotland’s central belt gets underway.
Carillion will begin work on the electrification of Edinburgh’s Haymarket north tunnel in September in what will be the first physical element of the Edinburgh-Glasgow Improvements Programme (EGIP) to be delivered.
Amey Infrastructure, Atkins and Delta Rail have also been awarded separate design and development contracts for other EGIP projects.
EGIP which is being funded by Transport Scotland on behalf of the Scottish Government, will make significant investment in the rail infrastructure linking Scotland’s two main cities, and the surrounding towns, enabling increased service levels and reduced journey times.
With the new infrastructure financed through Network Rail’s Regulatory Asset Base, EGIP is expected to deliver a range of benefits by 2016 including a fastest journey time of 37 minutes on the main Edinburgh Waverley-Glasgow Queen Street route and increased service levels on all routes between the two cities from the current five or six services per hour to 13 services per hour.
EGIP will also see the electrification of 350km of the existing rail network in the central belt, including the main Edinburgh Waverley-Glasgow Queen Street line, and provide opportunities to increase services and reduce journey times on routes between Alloa and Dunblane and Edinburgh and Glasgow.
In the short-term, the electrification of the north lines between Princes St Gardens and Haymarket, via the Haymarket north tunnel, will improve reliability and increase capacity into Edinburgh Waverley ahead of the introduction of the new, four trains an hour, Airdrie-Bathgate route in December 2010.
The £6m works at Haymarket north will involve track alignment and tunnel wall repairs to provide the correct clearances for the installation of overhead power lines through the tunnel. The project will commence in September and continue until December of this year.
Ron McAulay, Network Rail director Scotland, said: “The awarding of these contacts is a significant step forward in the delivery of this ambitious and far reaching programme of enhancements.
“The EGIP programme will deliver significant benefits for communities across central Scotland and will further improve the appeal of rail as a greener alternative to the car.”
Transport Minister Stewart Stevenson added: “The Edinburgh-Glasgow Improvements Programme will revolutionise the rail network in central Scotland bringing real and lasting benefits to rail passengers. The award of these substantial contracts will also help Scotland’s hard-pressed construction sector through these challenging times, supporting jobs and helping accelerate economic recovery.
“I’m delighted some of first tangible signs on the ground will soon be seen in the delivery of this exciting programme of rail improvements.”