Work will soon begin on a project to lengthen platforms at Edinburgh Waverley station for the introduction of longer, faster and greener trains.
The trains will run between Edinburgh and Glasgow, and on the East Coast main line.
Network Rail has awarded Carillion the £23 million contract to deliver the extension works at platforms 5 and 6, to the east of the station, and 12, to the west, as Waverley prepares for Virgin East Coast’s new Azuma trains and ScotRail’s new class-385s.
The enhancements are being delivered as part of the Scottish Government’s Edinburgh Glasgow Improvement Programme (EGIP) and the Department for Transport-funded Intercity Express Programme (IEP).
The infrastructure works, and new rolling stock, will help to transform travel on both routes, increasing passenger capacity and reducing journey times by around 10 minutes between Edinburgh and Glasgow and by around 20 minutes between the two capitals.
Scottish Transport Minister Humza Yousaf said: “This upgrade of Edinburgh Waverley is part of the wider improvement programme, which will bring real benefits to passengers and maximize the potential of this historic station.
“By extending the platforms, we are paving the way for the introduction of the new, longer, electric train fleet between Edinburgh and Glasgow and on the East Coast main line. The new trains will bring greater capacity to Scotland’s busiest rail route and cut journey times.
“I look forward to the work being delivered with the minimum amount of disruption.”
UK Government Rail Minister Paul Maynard said: “These improved platforms at Edinburgh Waverley station will enable new Intercity Express Trains to operate, providing more reliable and efficient journeys for passengers while helping to protect our beautiful countryside from pollution.
“This is a great example of the work which is being done across the union to give passengers the improved rail services that they want.”
Rodger Querns, Network Rail programme director, said: “Edinburgh Waverley welcomes nearly 30 million passengers a year and the work we are delivering will help to make sure the station can continue to play a vital role in the economic and social life of the capital.
“Completing such a significant piece of engineering work in the heart of one of the country’s busiest stations will be a significant challenge for our engineers and contractors and we are committed to carrying out these enhancements as quickly as possible and with the minimum of inconvenience for passengers.”
Ian McConnell, the ScotRail Alliance’s programmes and transformation director, said: “Our new fleet of faster, longer, greener trains will deliver a truly enhanced experience for our customers.
“The 200 new carriages will help to reduce journey times on some routes, are more energy efficient than the current diesel trains and the extra carriages will mean that seating capacity on our busiest routes is greatly increased.”
David Horne, Virgin Trains managing director on the east coast route, said: “The introduction of our state-of-the-art Azuma fleet will enable us to transform Edinburgh’s connectivity, ushering in a new era of comfort and style on cross-border intercity routes.
“Customers will see regular Edinburgh-London journeys accelerated to around four hours and an increase in the number of destinations available directly from Scotland.”