With the Commonwealth Games now just six months away, Network Rail is preparing the railway to do its bit to make this summer’s event a success.
The company is embarking on a programme of enhanced maintenance on the railway lines leading to key venues and investing in Glasgow Central to further improve facilities at Scotland’s busiest station.
Work is currently underway to cut back vegetation on electrified routes into the city, and to increase the maintenance of vital infrastructure such as power and signalling equipment and key junctions.
Litter and graffiti will be targeted for removal ahead of the Games on the approaches to busy locations including Glasgow’s Central and Queen Street stations and at Haymarket and Waverley in Edinburgh.
At Glasgow Central, over £2m will also be invested between now and June on a range of improvements to the facilities and appearance of the station.
The Union Street entrance will be refurbished and decorative stainless steel gates installed. The entrance to the lower level station will be upgraded and a new archway feature created to frame the escalators and direct customers towards the low level. The toilets at the station are also being refurbished and modernised.
Work to electrify the Glasgow-Cumbernauld line and deliver a new station for the town in time for the Games is expected to be completed on time, with electric trains running by March and the new station open by late June.
Network Rail will also scale back non-essential engineering work across the Central Belt immediately before and during the Games to reduce the potential for engineering works to affect services and to make sure additional staff are available to respond to any fault during the event.
The decision to suspend major works in the weeks immediately preceding and during the Games is a similar approach to that being taken by other transport bodies, including those responsible for Scotland’s road network.
As a result of these measures, work to electrify the Glasgow-Whifflet line will be slightly extended. Originally due for completion during July 2014, the project will be extended into early August. This extension will have no impact on services.
David Dickson, Network Rail acting route managing director for Scotland, said: “The work we are undertaking, and robust plans we have in place for during the Games, will help to make sure we can keep Scotland moving smoothly this summer.
“We are working closely with the Scottish Government and our industry partners to prepare for the Games, and by reducing our engineering work over the key period we can keep the railway open later and enable train operators to run more services.”
Steve Montgomery, managing director of ScotRail, added: “Network Rail’s decision to suspend non-essential maintenance is most welcome, as it will allow us to run more services during the Games.”