The Edinburgh Glasgow Improvement Programme, more commonly known as EGIP, is a comprehensive package of improvements to Scotland’s railway infrastructure.
The £650 million scheme is a Scottish Government priority and is being delivered by Network Rail in a bid to modernise and upgrade key junctions and infrastructure, as well as widespread electrification of the Scottish rail network, including the main line between Edinburgh and Glasgow.
The key elements of the project include widespread line electrification, Queen Street station redevelopment, platform lengthening in various locations, as well as Edinburgh Waverley station improvements. Other aspects of the project include general signalling improvements, junction upgrades, creation of a new electric Millerhill Depot, NEW Edinburgh Gateway station and Haymarket station redevelopment.
Upon completion the project will see the laying of 150km of single track new electrified railway, the creation of one new station and a new electric depot, as well as numerous station renovations and platform extensions.
The project is being funded by Transport Scotland and delivered by Network Rail. The vast scheme is will provide significant economic, social and environmental benefits for Scotland including the delivery of a faster, longer and more reliable train service, providing a railway capable of meeting passenger needs now and in the future.
The project will also deliver more sustainable, cleaner, quieter and energy efficient trains which will be more environmentally friendly. Transport Scotland, EGIP’s funder and specifier, says that rail is the lowest carbon mode of mass transport and therefore is an essential part of a future low carbon economy. The organisation also sees large benefits for the communities the routes serve and predict that EGIP will stimulate growth in Edinburgh and unlock investment as well as job opportunities.
The extensive renovation of Haymarket Station formed a part of the EGIP scheme and has seen Haymarket rejuvenated and transformed into a modern, fully accessible transport interchange. The station is Scotland’s fourth busiest railway station; handling over 4 million passengers each year. The station was in dire need of attention as the previous facilities and amenities were inadequate for current passenger levels, as well as accessibility throughout the station not meeting acceptable standards.
With passenger numbers expected to reach 10 million in the next 15 years Haymarket was added to the EGIP to-do list. Works began on site in May 2012 and the whole project was fully completed by April this year.
There were four main elements to the Haymarket scheme; these included the creation of a new station concourse and building, as well as the construction of a new access bridge with step free access to platform level. The existing station building and platform accommodation was also improved and new platform level canopies were installed.
Transport Scotland wanted to create an exciting, modern, fully accessible railway station that was passenger friendly. They wanted it to be fitted with internal and external waiting areas as well as acting as an efficient, attractive gateway to the west of the city. The station now boasts step free access to all platforms and integrated train, tram, bus and taxi facilities.
Another aspect of the EGIP initiative was the refurbishment of Edinburgh’s main station; Waverley Station. The £130 million project has seen the previously aging station transformed, into a modern, efficient environment for travelers to relax and travel in ease.
Carried out over four concurrent phases works on the 20 platform station included the replacement of the 34,000m2 station roof, creating a new Market Street entrance and increasing accessibility to the station for users.
Other works also included the refurbishment of the station concourse and main building exterior. Improvements to Platforms Eight and Nine have also taken place in which new canopies and station furniture has been installed. As well as these improvements, the station’s original ironwork features have been repaired and repainted. Non-essential station furniture, buildings and redundant high-level walkways have been permanently removed.
Rail Construction News caught up with Network Rail’s Project Manager on the development, Ronald MacIntyre to find out more. He became involved with the Waverley Station scheme in August 2013 and said overseeing the completion of the project has been a rewarding task. He added:
“The project has been a complete transformation of a tired station; not only has the station been, rejuvenated but so have the staff and the public. The station is bright, airy and modern now offering improved facilities and services for passengers that previously were not available. The station’s access routes have been considerably improved, especially in light of elderly or disabled passengers, who now have a completely different access facility which allows them to pass through the station with ease.
“By spending extensive amounts on the refurbishment new opportunities have arisen such as new spaces have appeared due to the demolition of old buildings. These new spaces mean capacity can be increased and services further improved in the future. Lots of things can come from this project and it has been lovely to see the progression.”
Network Rail’s existing Millerhill railway yard has been identified and selected for site development as part of the EGIP project. The scheme will see Millerhill transformed into an electric train depot used to house the new East of Scotland electric train fleet. The new trains will need to be stabled, cleaned, serviced and maintained daily; the existing train stabling and depot facilities are already operating at full capacity and cannot be easily expanded so an expansion to these facilities was desperately required.
Additional Engineering Works are also being undertaken, alongside the line electrification and various elements of civils and track works, to improve the rail network. Low level changes to track and signalling are encompassed in the majority of the wider projects but at specific key points of the network, more extensive work is required to enable the overall signalling solution.
Additional power supply and infrastructure to control and manage delivery to local sections along the route is required to support the wider programme of electrification. A loop at Cowlairs, situated on existing station land, has been installed and will deliver operational capacity and flexibility.
The depot at Eastfield, is another aspect of the engineering works, and will be improved to add more loops and sidings, as well as increased stabling capacity. The depot will be electrified to facilitate the management of the new fleet of electric trains. New and enhanced track section cabinets will also be deployed at various points of the route to control the newly electrified E&G.
Edinburgh Gateway Interchange is another aspect of the Edinburgh Glasgow Improvement scheme. The new station is being constructed to enable an efficient interchange with the Edinburgh Tram project which will provide further travel to the Edinburgh Airport. The new station will comprise two tracks, two platforms with linking accessible footbridge, as well as a station building and concourse.
Outside the station development a pedestrian underpass, below the A8 with associated car parking and highway alterations, is being constructed. A linking structure is also being built in order to join the station and the tram interchange. Associated landscaping works will also be undertaken at the station in order to create a seamless link between all elements of the development.
With works continuing on all of EGIP’s schemes apace Transport Scotland are managing to undertake a vast overhaul of the Scottish rail system in a timely, efficiently manner. So rail travelers; watch this space…