Transport Investment

I read a few transport magazines, it’s a distraction from being wholly just into football and sports stuff.

I was reading Rail Magazine’s issue from a month ago and there were a few pieces in there of Scottish interest.

Firstly, the Edinburgh to Glasgow Improvement Project (EGIP) changes which scale back the amount of electrification and to my mind take backwards the potential to make a step change in Transport in Scotlland.

To my mind, linking up to Stirling is the first step in going north with electrification and making journey opportunities, the loss of the Falkirk Grahamston diversionary route from the Edinburgh & Glasgow main line also seems to be a bit mean.

I saw references to the cost of reconfiguring Queen Street station and wondered if the acquisition of bits and pieces around the station to expand the platform capacity is costing more than initially thought and if that impacts on the phasing of electrification.

The disappointment is that the scaling back of the project wasn’t stated clearly and properly by the transport minister and there was a bit of double speak used.

The other bit of EGIP that I don’t get is the Springburn turnback that involves trains going into Springburn one way and then leaving another in order to get onto the North Clyde line. If there’s potential to remove trains from Queen Street High Level to add capacity, them why have a convoluted route and way of doing so?

Also in the issue of Rail was a mention of GARL – Glasgow Airport Rail Link, which is definitely something that I’ve not seen in years. A revised proposal with a changed route from campaigners.

I’m not convinced, as crossing the St James playing fields will still be costly and then a structure is needed to cross the M8 motorway.

I use the M8 westbound to Erskine Bridge quite often and it seems to me that a simpler spur could be taken off the railway at a point past the St James roundabout and under the A737 flyovers before crossing over or under the two lane each way section of the M8 and running along the airport compound before coming into the terminal.

Anyway it does seem an unlikely thing to be resurrected and whatever happens will not be in time for the commonwealth games, more likely to be in the 2030’s if it ever happens.

I think the answer for connecting the Airport to Glasgow City Centre might be a tram route but it’s maybe as expensive as the first bite at GARL.

That article also made mention of Glasgow Crossrail which had been in the long grass for a long time. I was sufficiently curious to look at old Strathclyde Region material promoting it and it promised much.

Crossrail is the refurbishment and electrification of a few miles of existing freight only track. It could allow direct electric trains from Ayrshire and Inverclyde to Edinburgh via the North Clyde Line’s newish extension through Airdrie and Bathgate.

I don’t know if many passengers would use it end to end, but the potential to do so and the tourist opportunities would be there.

With links and spurs, alternative ‘metro’ type services going say from Milngavie or Dumbarton to Greenock or Ayr could happen. Again whether it generates passengers or not is the question.

Crossrail or another form of it has been mooted from the 1970’s. I think the Strathclyde Region promotional stuff ties in with the time of ‘Strathclyde tram’ promotional material.

There’s never been any determination to progress Crossrail, although certainly electrification of the City Union could help Scotrail move trains about easily between depots and would make sense if more freight lines were wired up.

I wonder if a smaller version of Crossrail could work out, but with only the Airdrie/Bathgate line providing an option east from the city union line, does that give enough options?

Anyway, lets see if the money is found to progress anything beyond EGIP.


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