New city station is ready to bridge gap
A FLAGSHIP new railway station is set to open next month after a passenger footbridge linking the two platforms was lifted into place.
In an operation lasting seven hours at Edinburgh Park, the 20-tonne, 15-metre bridge was yesterday manoeuvred into place in one whole piece after it had been constructed and completed on site.
And bosses are convinced that the much-delayed station will be operational by next month and will become a fundamental part of the city’s public transport system.
Malcolm Deans, executive director of Edinburgh Park, said: "We hope that a large proportion of the 7000 people currently based at Edinburgh Park will make use of the railway station, choosing to travel to and from work by train.
"We are committed to reducing traffic congestion in the west of Edinburgh by offering our occupiers alternatives to driving to work.
"The railway station is the latest initiative, building on the work done to date by the Edinburgh Park Transport Forum in encouraging people to use the Park’s car-sharing scheme, bus services and cycle paths."
The 4.5 million project was due to be completed in June, but following protracted wrangling between developers and rail industry bosses earlier this year, the completion date was put back until October.
Developers claimed that it took four months for talks with Network Rail, the Strategic Rail Authority (SRA), ScotRail and the city council to be resolved, dashing the promises made by former Transport Minister Iain Gray that the project would be completed on time.
Plans for a station at Edinburgh Park had been floated for more than five years, but agreement over the site was not reached until 2001 - and it was not until 12 months later that the council gave the scheme the green light.
At the time there were fears that the station could be further delayed because of a continuing dispute between Railtrack and the SRA over performance targets, with Railtrack concerned over potential fines if its performance fell short of targets because of the extra rail traffic generated by the new station.
But by the end of the year Mr Gray announced that the SRA would provide 1m in funding to ensure the project could go ahead and be completed by the summer.
After the delays in construction, and now that the bridge has been placed between the two platforms, rail bosses and the council are adamant there will be no further setbacks to the project, which will serve the Capital’s main business park.
The city’s transport leader, Andrew Burns, said: "Edinburgh Park Station will be a state of the art railway station, and is a fundamental part of the council’s integrated transport initiative.
"It will build upon the success of the Edinburgh Crossrail scheme, where new stations were opened at Brunstane and Newcraighall last year, giving a complete cross city commuter route.
"When this station opens, there will be an attractive alternative to access in this increasingly successful and important business community, which is essential for Edinburgh’s continued prosperity."
The Edinburgh Park station will provide a new stop on the main line, opening up direct links to 14 stations in Edinburgh, West Lothian and central Scotland and connections to stations further afield, such as Glasgow, Fife and Dundee.
The station building itself will feature a main pavilion, platform waiting shelters and a lift, as well as the new footbridge. Station bosses have also announced that it will contain Edinburgh Park’s first ATM cash dispensing machine.
Peter Cotton, ScotRail managing director, said: "Edinburgh Park will be the eighth station to open on the ScotRail Network since privatisation and will complete the Edinburgh Crossrail scheme. The station will provide a vital public transport link for the business park and we are looking forward to starting services next month."
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Saturday 25 May 2013
Temperature: 6 C to 17 C
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