Latest plans for city railway station revamp may feature huge car park
A MASSIVE multi-storey car park could feature in fresh attempts to expand one of Scotland's busiest stations.
Network Rail is seeking developers to build above a car park on the east side of Queen Street station in Glasgow. The scheme would create a possible eighth platform and more concourse space, while a new entrance to the terminus could also be included.
Glasgow City Council favours using the 1.8-acre site, which borders North Hanover Street, for a new 1,500-space car park to serve the adjacent Buchanan Galleries shopping centre, which already has 2,000 parking spaces.
Network Rail's latest plans for the station come four years after it announced a similar scheme and said "a preferred development partner" would be chosen early in 2007 - but these appear to have come to nothing.
Property sources told The Scotsman yesterday that the project had been shelved pending planning for potential expansion of the station as part of the electrification of the Queen Street-Edinburgh line.
Network Rail said yesterday the existing platforms were sufficient for the electrification plans, which will include more frequent trains from 2016.
However, its new draft planning blueprint said an extra platform would be needed if trains on the Croy, Alloa and Dunblane lines were doubled in length to six carriages.
The station is the third busiest in Scotland after Glasgow Central and Edinburgh Waverley, and handles nearly 15 million passengers a year.
David Biggs, its property director, said: "The end result of this development partnership will be a new station for passengers, and a new landmark building in the heart of the city of Glasgow."
However, Network Rail denied suggestions it was just going through the motions, having already backed the car park proposal. A spokesman said: "We have got to be seen to hold an open and fair competition. At this stage we are not favouring any development plans."
Glasgow Chamber of Commerce chief executive Stuart Patrick, welcomed the news.
He said: "Any plan to enhance the city's public transport infrastructure is to be warmly welcomed and, as one of the key access points between the country's two largest cities - Glasgow and Edinburgh - Queen Street station is an integral part of the Scottish network."
However, the car park option was attacked by the Greens.City council executive committee member Martha Wardrop said: "Plans for more retail units and additional car parking within the "Buchanan Quarter" will bring significant financial risks to the public purse and have a negative impact on the quality of the environment in Glasgow's city centre."
Queen Street station, built in 1842 as the Glasgow terminus of the line from Edinburgh, was described in a Victorian guidebook as "an almost fairy palace".
The station's mile-long tunnel to the north, on a one-in-42 gradient, is among the steepest accesses to a city-centre station in Britain. Trains had to be hauled up it by rope until 1909.
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