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 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, a redevelopment of Queen Street station, platform lengthening in various locations and Edinburgh Waverley station improvements. Other aspects of the project include general signalling improvements, junction upgrades, the creation of a new electric Millerhill Depot, the new Edinburgh Gateway station and Haymarket station redevelopment.
Developments to Edinburgh’s Waverley station were a major part of the EGIP project. Waverley station opened in 1846 and was rebuilt between 1892 and 1902. It lies between the old town and modern Edinburgh, adjacent to Princes Street, Edinburgh Castle and the Princes Street Gardens.
In a £130m investment programme, Edinburgh Waverley station has been transformed to create an environment that meets passengers 21st Century needs while preserving Waverley’s rich history. Platforms at Edinburgh Waverley were extended to accommodate longer trains being introduced on both the Edinburgh to Glasgow via Falkirk route and the East Coast Main Line.
Attention has also focused on the new £41 million Edinburgh Gateway station. The new station opened in December 2016 and has helped transform travel options for passengers from Fife and the north by giving them easy access to Edinburgh’s tram network and the city’s airport. The new station consists of two 265m, 10-car platforms and boasts 1500m2 of concourse and circulation space. A step-free access bridge links the platforms within the station and connects to the tram stop via lifts and escalators.
Work began on redeveloping Glasgow Queen Street Station on Sunday 6th August 2018. Glasgow Queen Street is Scotland’s third busiest railway station, providing rail connections to and from the city to the wider Glasgow area as well as throughout the country. Popular amongst commuter and leisure travellers, the number of people using the station is set to increase by 40% to reach 28m by 2030. To manage this growth in passenger numbers, work is underway to create a spacious and accessible transport facility that has been carefully designed to be a positive and prominent addition to Glasgow’s historic George Square.
In addition to providing more space for passengers to move around within the station, the redevelopment will also lengthen some platforms to permit the operation of eight carriage trains on the Edinburgh-Glasgow via Falkirk High Route. Preparatory work to lengthen platforms 2-5 took place during a station closure in August 2016 while Glasgow Queen Street station’s tunnel was being renewed. During this time the ground below the existing concourse was excavated to clear space for longer platforms. This was temporarily covered to allow the station to reopen and will be revisited in 2019 when the main platform works begin. In May 2018 the redevelopment team completed a six month project to extend platform 1 by 50 metres providing additional space for longer four-carriage trains.
Extensive planning has gone into the EGIP programme to keep disruption for everyday passengers at a minimum. Work on the electrification of the train lines, for example, has predominantly been carried out at night. Between November 2016 and April 2017, approximately 90 night shifts were carried out by cone penetration testing specialist Lankelma to investigate sensitive and soft ground on the line, ensuring the overhead gantries had firm foundations.
Developments to electrify more than 50 route kilometres between Springburn and Cumbernauld will enable the introduction of electric multiple unit (EMU) services between Cumbernauld and Glasgow Queen Street. It is the first delivery phase of line electrification as part of the Edinburgh Glasgow Improvement Programme (EGIP). The project will deliver 16 miles of newly electrified railway to enable faster, modern, cleaner and quieter trains.
In order to facilitate the introduction of seven carriage, and subsequently eight carriage electric trains, the platforms must be extended at a number of intermediate stations on the line between Edinburgh and Glasgow. Intermediate station work at Linlithgow and Polmont is about creating platforms of suitable length to facilitate the safe operation of 8 carriage trains.