News From the Central Belt
Just as Far North Express 60 went to press, details were published of the revised Edinburgh Glasgow Improvement Programme (EGIP). They are broadly as we reported but we now have the various "Key Output" (KO) implementation dates. KO0 is to be completed for the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow which start on 23rd July and will see Electric Multiple Units (EMUs) running from Glasgow Queen Street Low Level and Motherwell to Cumbernauld, the former reversing at Springburn. Outside EGIP, electric trains will also take over the route between Glasgow Central and Whifflet via Baillieston, although it has not been made clear whether the trains will use High Level or Low Level. EGIP KO1, completion December, 2016, sees EMUs between Glasgow Queen Street High Level and Edinburgh Waverley via Falkirk but in existing diesel timings. The work for this will include a 44-day closure of the route between Polmont and Edinburgh Park for electrification and flood amelioration works in Winchburgh tunnel. As we have previously reported, the only available route for diversion will be by a reversal at Dalmeny. However, for end-to-end journeys, there are other routes between Scotland's two largest cities. At the same time, Edinburgh International Gateway station will open at Gogar to serve the airport. This will be located between South Gyle and Dalmeny and will also be a tram interchange. We are not yet aware whether Inverness trains will call there but, as a result of the removal of Almond curve from EGIP, Edinburgh airport will not be connected directly to Falkirk, Stirling and Glasgow amongst other places. KO2 should be complete in December, 2017 and will see Queen Street to Waverley via Falkirk trains accelerated to EMU timings. Also, Cumbernauld trains will revert to Queen Street High Level. KO3's implementation date is December, 2018, when Queen Street to Waverley trains become 8-cars and EMUs appear on services from both cities to Dunblane and Alloa. KO4 (March, 2019) is the completion of concourse works at Queen Street High Level. So far, no announcements have been made about what will happen to the displaced diesel trains. The Far North Line requires two more in service to run the proposed hourly service between Inverness and Tain.
In FNE 60, we listed the residual services at Queen Street High Level that would still be operated by diesel trains once all the electrification works are complete. Deepest apologies to our colleagues at the Friends of the West Highland Lines, but we omitted to list those to Oban, Fort William and Mallaig.