Thousands of commuters on the main Edinburgh-Glasgow rail line were today urged by the ScotRail Alliance to switch to another line for more than four months during major engineering work at Queen Street station.
Thousands of commuters on the main Edinburgh-Glasgow rail line are being urged to switch to another for more than four months during major engineering work at Scotland’s third busiest station.
Half the normal number of trains will run on Scotland’s busiest route from March and take 25 minutes longer than usual when they are diverted to low-level platforms at Glasgow Queen Street.
This is because the main part of the station will be shut during £60 million work to replace worn-out tracks in its access tunnel in the biggest project on the route since it was built 170 years ago.
Passengers travelling between Edinburgh and Glasgow via Falkirk High, which normally takes around 50 minutes, are advised by ScotRail to use the line via Bathgate instead. It has four trains an hour and takes about one hour ten minutes.
However, the operator said those using intermediate stations should continue to use the Falkirk High route.
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The disruption, revealed by The Scotsman last July, also includes trains to and from Aberdeen and Inverness being switched to Glasgow Central Station, with 30 to 40 minutes added to journeys.
Trains on the Alloa, Dunblane, Oban and Mallaig lines will also be diverted to Queen Street low level, with journey times extended by 25 minutes.
However, congestion is likely as there are only two low-level platforms compared to seven in the main station, with the complex handling 20 million passengers a year. Queuing systems will operate there and at Waverley Station in Edinburgh at peak times.
The ScotRail Alliance, which includes track owner Network Rail, said the 20-week closure from Sunday, 20 March to Monday, 8 August was also needed as part of the electrification of the route for longer trains and faster journeys.
It pledged to add as many carriages to trains as possible during the work, although ScotRail is already desperately short until its new electric fleet arrives next year.
Passengers on other routes will also be disrupted, with those on the Maryhill line having to change at either Anniesland or Springburn.
Falkirk Grahamston travellers will have to change at Cumbernauld or Springburn.
The disruption coincides with a four-week closure of the Glasgow Subway, which has an interchange with Queen Street Station, from mid-June. Alliance managing director Phil Verster said: “Every day, tens of thousands of people travel through the station on their way to work, to college or university or to visit friends. People will still be able to do that while the tunnel is closed.”