A partially constructed building that forms part of Scotland’s biggest rail project faces being torn down in an extraordinary 11th-hour Scottish Government rethink.
Sources have estimated the cost of the U-turn at Queen Street Station in Glasgow at between £3 million and £15m.
Transport Scotland has ordered a review of the building in the car park, for rail staff and shops, as part of expanding the station to accommodate new electric trains on the main line to Edinburgh this year.
The trains are finally due to start running in March, but other delays to the £800m Edinburgh Glasgow Improvement Programme (Egip) have already put back completion of the station until 2020.
Officials are believed to be considering a larger development in the car park.
This comes despite a series of plans by Network Rail stretching back 12 years, which were later scaled back.
Network Rail said: “We have paused work while we explore potential changes to the scope with the Scottish Government.
“If the discussions result in a new development, then we’d most likely have to remove the steelwork.”
The Scottish Conservatives’ transport spokesman, Jamie Greene, said: “If true, this represents a potentially quite shocking project management failure.
“The very idea you would scrap a build halfway through construction seems not just illogical but sadly reflects a theme that runs through the entire Egip project – one of complete Scottish Government incompetence.”
Scottish Labour connectivity spokesman Colin Smyth said: “This would be a huge embarrassment for Transport Scotland and would be yet another example of their complete and utter mismanagement of major transport projects.”
Transport Scotland said it would not delay longer trains and faster journeys in December, platforms being extended by December 2019 and the station concourse and frontage being completed by spring 2020.
A spokeswoman said: “Following the conclusion of Scottish minister-led discussions, options for an alternative development at the North Hanover Street site are being explored. These are expected to conclude in the coming weeks.
“All other works continue as planned.”