Since the scrapping of GARL, there’s always been a very remote possibility that it could make a comeback. I think it’s not finally stone dead.
That’s a good thing for my local community and for a local park.
Certainly, GARL didn’t happen, but key elements of it did, Glasgow Central gained two platforms and the Paisley Corridor Improvements programme.
The class 380 trains were coming anyway and weren’t conditional on GARL.
I think after an initial wobble on introduction, they’ve proved to be good units and the 23 metre length adds capacity even onto 3 carriage units.
Four car units to my mind are equivalent to six car 318 and 334 formations and do swallow a crowd.
A seven car combination is ideal on peak services from Ayr but for other destinations it’s horses for courses and for me, it mostly works out inbound to Glasgow but suffers going out from Glasgow as people do tend to jump on the first train.
The new platforms 12 and 13 took the high level at Glasgow Central up to 15 platforms.
This effectively created a Ayrshire/Inverclyde station within a station with 12,13,14,15 effectively used for the services through Paisley Gilmour Street.
The electrified Paisley Canal services work from there too.
Platform 11 is occasionally used and lower numbered platforms are used to turn around the Edinburgh bound services as well as the 1755 class 314 service from platform 8.
The station benefited from losing the Eurostar timber and glass structure that didn’t ever serve a purpose and it created the space for the ticket barrier lines.
The additional platforms do work, the question is whether they can be extended further into the station in future.
The Paisley Corridor Improvements (PCI) were ‘The GARL Main Line Works’ in terms of the infrastructure and signalling part of GARL that did go ahead. The significance is that it provided a bi-directional third track between Shields Junction and Arkleston.
There are other wider sections of track particularly at the approaches to Paisley Gilmour Street from Arkleston Junction and at Shields/Gower St Junctions.
It’s noticeable at peak times, Glasgow Central can flight a 1756 Inverclyde, 1800 Ayr direct service 1804 Ayr all stops service and an 1806 Inverclyde within 10 minutes.
From Paisley Gilmour Street, a Glasgow bound service can go from both platforms with the stopper from Inverclyde being overtaken by the direct service from Ayrshire.
Yet, the current throughput of service is at maximum 15 per hour in one direction, we know at peaks that Partick and Hyndland field more paths at two or three minute intervals as the busiest points on the electrified network.
There may be capacity, there may be units, but apart from between Paisley and Glasgow, no great need for a ‘Metro’ style frequency across the length of the routes.
I’m willing to guess that no services need be sacrificed to introduce the Tram/Trains to the airport, but that an adjusted timetable with some compromises possibly on stopping patterns.
To my mind more infrastructure or a fourth track from Shields to Arkleston wouldn’t be necessary.
A timetable reshuffle, a movement of services to fit a greater frequency introduced by the airport service is more likely.
But that needs advance planning and programming with Network Rail, ScotRail and others working through all the possibilities.
All told these infrastructure works were a spend of approximately £169 Million in 2011/2012.
Going back to the class 380 trains, these released class 334 units for the Edinburgh to Helensburgh and Balloch services running through the Airdrie/Bathgate line.
In all, many benefits happened as a result of GARL’s cancellation and fed through to other improvements or gains.