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Could Glasgow Crossrail be built?

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Highland37

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I have searched the forums for dedicated thread but not found one.

There is a good article in the current edition of RAIL which got me thinking. When I lived in Glasgow I often travelled to Paisley from Milngavie. The journey was relatively long due to changing at Partick and the Central.

I really don't get the resistance to a common sense scheme. (I know TS are difficult to deal with)
 
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PaulLothian

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Lots of threads on this forum covering the question of whether Glasgow Crossrail is viable. I think I would only be ruffling a few feathers by saying it is not the most worthwhile enhancement to the Glasgow rail network...
 

Paule23

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Lots of threads on this forum covering the question of whether Glasgow Crossrail is viable. I think I would only be ruffling a few feathers by saying it is not the most worthwhile enhancement to the Glasgow rail network...


What would be in your opinion? (I know that sounds sarcastic but it's meant as a geniuine question).
 

Altnabreac

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I have searched the forums for dedicated thread but not found one.

There is a good article in the current edition of RAIL which got me thinking. When I lived in Glasgow I often travelled to Paisley from Milngavie. The journey was relatively long due to changing at Partick and the Central.

I really don't get the resistance to a common sense scheme. (I know TS are difficult to deal with)

I don't know if that was a wee while ago but since Larkhall reopened in 2005 there have been direct Milngavie - Glasgow Central services so no need to change at Partick.

On the substance of your point Crossrail has the flaw of not really going where most people want to go.

My view is it has a place as a local scheme to serve the Gorbals and East End better but it just doesn't work very well as a big regional scheme which it keeps being promoted as.

A cross Glasgow tunnel is really the inevitable requirement to solve Glasgow's long term capacity problems. Not really on the cards in the next 5 years but come CP7 I think it will be essential.
 

me123

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I have searched the forums for dedicated thread but not found one.

There is a good article in the current edition of RAIL which got me thinking. When I lived in Glasgow I often travelled to Paisley from Milngavie. The journey was relatively long due to changing at Partick and the Central.

I really don't get the resistance to a common sense scheme. (I know TS are difficult to deal with)

You didn't always need to change at Patrick and Central. At least half of the trains from Milngavie go through Central LL. A change at Patrick can be exceptionally quick - IIRC it's a 6 minute connection on your outbound journey when you're on the train going via GLQ?

I have gone on record on the forum as being opposed to the scheme, and I have yet to be persuaded otherwise. It's a scheme that gets a lot of support because lots of the infrastructure is in place, but I don't think it solves any of the problems that it claims it can solve - it generally puts the problems elsewhere.

First of all, it completely bypasses the city centre. Relatively few people want to go to Glasgow Cross or The Gorbals. People want to go to Glasgow Central and Queen Street. If you divert people away from the city centre, they probably won't take the train.

So the solution to this is the chord at High Street station, allowing Crossrail trains to run to GLQ. I'm no expert on the infrastructure works required, but it looks like you have to create a line that turns the train about 140 degrees in the space of about 100m. It also has quite a steep incline going towards High Street. That seems painfully slow and expensive, and I suspect you'd need to move High Street station further to the West (i.e., into the tunnel under High Street itself) which would prove very expensive and disruptive. And I don't think that whoever owns the public car park that's in the way will shut down business without a substantial pay off. Even if you did this, the journey time is going to be considerably slower than the equivalent into Central. You'll take commuters away from a mainline station (in some cases, like Paisley Canal services, they'll even be able to see Central) and onto a ten minute detour through the East End before dumping them into the bowels of Queen Street.

Next, you have the capacity on the North Clyde Line. It's already at 8tph through Queen Street. Yes, there is capacity there, but there's no capacity further West through Patrick which is very close to its capacity at the moment, with few (if any) options to improve the situation. The Kelvinhaugh turn back is an option, but it eliminates the benefits of direct services to Patrick and the North West and it reduces capacity on the line through Charing Cross, limiting the number of trains that could make use of Crossrail. Looking at your journey, Paisley-Milngavie simply won't happen.

What trains would you divert? If we assume a ten minute addition to journey time (which I think is reasonable), no-one will want this for their own line. Commuters will be peeved if their service is chosen to take longer in order to create capacity. There's suggestions for alternative services, for example 2tph EK-GLC and 2tph EK-GLQ-somewhere, but that's not a great option for commuters who won't know which station to use - and unlike the North West of the city there's no "Patrick" where you can easily change (West Street is mooted, but it relies on all the trains going to Crossrail being Ayrshire trains. I think these trains will simply empty at West Street and run through to GLQ essentially empty, as it will likely be quicker to transfer than to stay on the train if your destination is the city centre).

And another question that's never quite been answered - what are we creating capacity for? The only thing that's likely at the moment seems to be an extra 2tph to EK which I would suggest could be achieved in a much more cost effective way. I have no doubt that more capacity will be needed in the future, but you have to have a coherent plan and I don't think this is it. Diverting at most 4tph (and that is the most you will achieve) to Queen Street Low Level is a short term solution, and I remain to be convinced that it's needed. I would argue that 4tph to EK could fit into GLC high level as it stands, and diverting the Lanark trains back to the low level could create another two slots. No infrastructure required.

Another option that's mooted is the possibility of Edinburgh-Ayrshire direct via Bathgate, Airdrie and the new Crossrail. Sounds very good, but the end-end journey times won't be competitive. This is one of the slower routes between the two cities. And given that the existing service is between 2-6tph into Glasgow, the reality is that to facilitate the new service two trains will be diverted away from the city centre and out to Paisley. What do you divert? The express service becomes less competitive if you're not going to the city centre. The all stops is too slow for end-end journeys and deprives passengers of a journey opportunity to Glasgow City Centre. And the Airdrie terminator would half capacity at the intermediate stations. And the same argument can be had for whatever Ayrshire/Inverclyde services are chosen to bypass Glasgow. There's also talk of this being used as GARL - again, why waste money taking airline passengers away from the city centre? That's where incoming traffic wants to go!

Crossrail is inherently flawed. It will cause significant disruption during construction. Most people will not want their trains to go over this route, as it will be longer and take them away from where they want to go. It will not create significant additional capacity at Central, and will instead cause capacity problems through Queen Street Low Level.

Yes, there are problems in Glasgow's rail network, not least that trains from the South and trains from the North arrive at two unconnected termini. However, Crossrail (despite being promoted as "the missing link") does not solve this or indeed any other problem. The only reason I can see why it's frequently cited as "The Answer" is because lots of the infrastructure is in place already.

I think to overcome the problems, we need to think a lot bigger. Think more along the lines of London Crossrail. I would suggest a new line from Paisley to Renfrew (giving that town a station), South Glasgow University Hospital (Bus connections aplenty and a major employment centre), Govan (for the Subway and more buses), Buchanan Street (new underground station, offering connections to Queen Street, Central and the Subway -provides an underground travelator link between the two existing stations), and out to Cowlairs to integrate into the North Glasgow commuter lines. This would largely be in tunnels, of course (Exact route is open to revision!). This would be exceptionally ambitious and very costly, but it would provide a real solution. It would create capacity in Glasgow Central, as you can divert lots of Ayrshire and Inverclyde trains this way (and run a GARL through this corridor too). It would create capacity at Queen Street as well, by diverting (say) Cumbernauld services and Stirling locals through the new tunnels. It would not impact on capacity on existing lines. It would link Paisley to the West End by linking into the Subway at Govan. It would give Renfrew a heavy rail station. I'd rather that a proposal like this (better thought out, of course) would be a better use of public money than a short term stop-gap like the proposed Glasgow Crossrail.
 

najaB

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me123 and Altnabreac have it right - the only Glasgow Crossrail that is worth doing is a north to south tunnel that allows through services from the north to routes south from Central. Anything else is just a sticking plaster.

Hence my "Go big or go home" comment above.
 

PaulLothian

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Lots of threads on this forum covering the question of whether Glasgow Crossrail is viable. I think I would only be ruffling a few feathers by saying it is not the most worthwhile enhancement to the Glasgow rail network...

Planned to clarify, once I reached a proper keyboard, but various people have got there first.

The current Glasgow Crossrail suggestions have many flaws (well laid out already in this thread) and I cannot imagine that one could ever make a business case for its opening. Probably most significant is the fact that it would take passengers where they don't want to go, and that the urban regeneration benefits would therefore be extremely limited.
 

tbtc

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I have searched the forums for dedicated thread but not found one

I think that's probably because there's at least one poster who'll bring it up into any discussion about infrastructure in the west of Scotland, so it tends to get debated over and over again on unrelated threads (that's not a dig at you, btw, I'm just explaining why it may not have already had a dedicated thread)

I really don't get the resistance to a common sense scheme

If it's a common sense scheme then what is the problem that it is solving?

For me, it's the kind of "solution in need of a problem" that regularly gets mentioned by enthusiasts without there being a real need for it.

Crossrail and Thameslink in London both link busy terminals (and remove the need for so many services to terminate at them, as well as providing links into the heart of the city). As others have said, you either copy that idea (so that a "Stirlingshire to Ayrshire" service can stop at Queen Street and Central) or don't bother - running it via the Gorbals is going to inconvenience most passengers on board (who will want a "Stirlingshire to central Glasgow" or "central Glasgow to Ayrshire" service - there aren't enough people who want to travel from one side to the other to justify a through service that omits the centre of modern Glasgow.

There's plenty of other schemes that you could spend money on - the bottleneck around Partick would be my priority but there's also some large conurbations lacking heavy rail (e.g. Renfrew) if you'd rather spend money on that. The changes in Glasgow over the years have meant there are some busy destinations (e.g. Silverburn) unserved by rail - I'd put these ahead of Crossrail.

I'm never convinced that starting from a position of "what railway lines did we used to have" is the way forward (again, not a dig at you, just a general frustration I have with such schemes - see also "Bradford Crossrail"!).

What trains would you divert? If we assume a ten minute addition to journey time (which I think is reasonable), no-one will want this for their own line

Agreed - it'd be a disadvantage for a lot of people.

I think to overcome the problems, we need to think a lot bigger. Think more along the lines of London Crossrail. I would suggest a new line from Paisley to Renfrew (giving that town a station), South Glasgow University Hospital (Bus connections aplenty and a major employment centre), Govan (for the Subway and more buses), Buchanan Street (new underground station, offering connections to Queen Street, Central and the Subway -provides an underground travelator link between the two existing stations), and out to Cowlairs to integrate into the North Glasgow commuter lines. This would largely be in tunnels, of course (Exact route is open to revision!). This would be exceptionally ambitious and very costly, but it would provide a real solution

Ambitious and costly (as you say), but I like it - I'm more interested in 21st century demand (e.g. Renfrew, the new Hospital) than historical maps.

me123 and Altnabreac have it right - the only Glasgow Crossrail that is worth doing is a north to south tunnel that allows through services from the north to routes south from Central. Anything else is just a sticking plaster.

Hence my "Go big or go home" comment above.

Agreed.
 

GrimsbyPacer

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Why not built a single track subway line linking Central with a new platform 3 at Buchanan Street, with a short walking subway to Queens Street station?

The subway in Glasgow allows small tunnels, cutting the cost down a bit.
 

najaB

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Why not built a single track subway line linking Central with a new platform 3 at Buchanan Street, with a short walking subway to Queens Street station?
If you're going down that route (involving a change) then you might as well just have a long moving walkway between the two low-level stations.
 

me123

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That's what I'd advocate. A low level moving walkway. Linking Buchanan Street Subway, Glasgow Queen Street and Glasgow Central stations. You have the potential for retail space along the way - a bit like 42nd Street/Times Square station in New York. The rent you would attract from retailers using this space would be a good source of revenue to help offset the costs of the project. If you were to have a hypothetical North-South tunnel, it could also integrate well into this complex.
 

clc

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Cross city tunnel gets my vote. Say 3 miles @ £200m per mile plus £1 billion for a sub surface station with pedestrian links to Central and the subway. We're currently spending that sort of money on the Queensferry Crossing so it's not beyond the realms of possibility.

However, I'd also love to see the City Union line brought back into passenger use with new stations helping the regeneration of Tradeston, Laurieston and Calton. You could also run a 2tph Glasgow Airport-Edinburgh via A2B service over it as suggested in the Scottish Strategic Rail Study's high resource scenario.
 

NotATrainspott

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Cross city tunnel gets my vote. Say 3 miles @ £200m per mile plus £1 billion for a sub surface station with pedestrian links to Central and the subway. We're currently spending that sort of money on the Queensferry Crossing so it's not beyond the realms of possibility.

However, I'd also love to see the City Union line brought back into passenger use with new stations helping the regeneration of Tradeston, Laurieston and Calton. You could also run a 2tph Glasgow Airport-Edinburgh via A2B service over it as suggested in the Scottish Strategic Rail Study's high resource scenario.

If you build a chord at Coatbridge you could run Airdrie-Bathgate services via Stepps and then into the Cross-City tunnel and out towards the Airport. Since there are fewer destinations to be served out of Queen Street I wouldn't be surprised if there were entirely new services created up just to provide somewhere for all the south side services to go once they're through the tunnel.
 

Altnabreac

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If you build a chord at Coatbridge you could run Airdrie-Bathgate services via Stepps and then into the Cross-City tunnel and out towards the Airport. Since there are fewer destinations to be served out of Queen Street I wouldn't be surprised if there were entirely new services created up just to provide somewhere for all the south side services to go once they're through the tunnel.

Agreed re new services. The two I'd create would be a 2tph Milngavie via Maryhill service and 2tph Motherwell - Coatbridge - Springburn service.

Combine that with 2tph Anniesland, 4tph Edinburgh, 2tph Cumbernauld, 2tph Falkirk Grahamston via Cumbernauld, 2tph Alloa and 2tph Perth and you have a pretty decent service pattern without resorting to any new chords.
 

clc

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Agreed re new services. The two I'd create would be a 2tph Milngavie via Maryhill service and 2tph Motherwell - Coatbridge - Springburn service.

Combine that with 2tph Anniesland, 4tph Edinburgh, 2tph Cumbernauld, 2tph Falkirk Grahamston via Cumbernauld, 2tph Alloa and 2tph Perth and you have a pretty decent service pattern without resorting to any new chords.

Maryhill-Milngavie seems like an excellent solution to the question of how to give Maryhill a viable 4tph service.

I imagine Falkirk Grahamston services would have been extended to Grangemouth by the time the tunnel was built.
 

me123

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Maryhill-Milngavie seems like an excellent solution to the question of how to give Maryhill a viable 4tph service.

Agree. It's also a good way to create 2 additional paths an hour through Patrick, which could be used for Lanark fast services again if you want to create another 2tph at Glasgow Central.
 

NotATrainspott

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Agree. It's also a good way to create 2 additional paths an hour through Patrick, which could be used for Lanark fast services again if you want to create another 2tph at Glasgow Central.

Although in truth I would expect Partick to be solved before a north-south tunnel is built, simply because the BCR for the tunnel would require there to be no other options available.

For that matter, if the Croy turnback or similar scheme were built, would it be possible to run these trains into the Low Level via Springburn? Northbound it would involve a flat crossing at Cowlairs but it should be possible for trains to wait for their path without blocking any other services. Running the Maryhill service this way would involve blocking it in both directions. It's just another idea of how to eke out a few more paths into the High Level station. Keeping the temporary Cumbernauld-via-Bellgrove service would free up another path on top of that.
 

clc

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Agree. It's also a good way to create 2 additional paths an hour through Patrick, which could be used for Lanark fast services again if you want to create another 2tph at Glasgow Central.

I assumed Altnabreac meant these would be additional to the existing 4tph to Milngavie via Partick? (so you'd have 6tph to Milngavie).
 

Altnabreac

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I assumed Altnabreac meant these would be additional to the existing 4tph to Milngavie via Partick? (so you'd have 6tph to Milngavie).

Could work either way. Suspect to increase to 6tph would require at least Westerton - Bearsden to be redoubled. Might work with the Hilfoot - Milngavie section still as single track.

Suspect by the time you put 18-20tph from Ayrshire - Inverclyde into a tunnel that frees up space at Central High Level and in turn reduces pressure on Partick as you aren't trying to squeeze extra services into Central Low Level.

So I'd probably favour 6tph from Milngavie.
 

adrock1976

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What's it called? It's called Cumbernauld
Some images that I previously bookmarked from the Urban Glasgow website (but could not find again soon after) are below.

The first image from 1994 seemed unusual (to me) as it did not propose to use the reinstated Gushetfaulds link to Cumberland Street from the Glasgow & SW Railway. Also of note, a new station at Briggait (near the now former Paddy's Market) was proposed, rather than Glasgow Cross reopening, meaning that there would be no interchange with the Glasgow Central Railway to/from Motherwell and Dalmuir.

The second image refers to the inside of the leaflet that relates to the first image.

The third image is what is often the most common (and more favourable, due to the interchange at Glasgow Cross and the reinstatement of the link through Gushetfaulds), and also includes a turnback at Finnieston and Croy. Furthermore, the use of the complete length of the City Union Railway would do as what it's name is - i.e. unify the G&SWR, Caledonian Railway, and North British Railway routes that run through the central G1 - 5 postcode area (when Glasgow experimented with compass point postcodes, the present day G1 - 5 was designated C1 - 5, with the "C" meaning Central).

The fourth image is simply an Ordnance Survey map with Glasgow Crossrail overlaid, for better clarity than otherwise would be with a London Underground type of schematic diagram.
 

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clc

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If you build a chord at Coatbridge you could run Airdrie-Bathgate services via Stepps and then into the Cross-City tunnel and out towards the Airport. Since there are fewer destinations to be served out of Queen Street I wouldn't be surprised if there were entirely new services created up just to provide somewhere for all the south side services to go once they're through the tunnel.

Agreed re new services. The two I'd create would be a 2tph Milngavie via Maryhill service and 2tph Motherwell - Coatbridge - Springburn service.

Combine that with 2tph Anniesland, 4tph Edinburgh, 2tph Cumbernauld, 2tph Falkirk Grahamston via Cumbernauld, 2tph Alloa and 2tph Perth and you have a pretty decent service pattern without resorting to any new chords.

If a people mover was built between Glasgow Airport and Paisley Gilmour St (rather than the tram train plan) then PGS would effectively become the Airport station meaning every service going through the cross city tunnel would be an airport service.

The attraction of the chord at Coatbridge is that it would give Airdrie, Bathgate, Livingston and other towns on the A2B line a rail connection to Glasgow Airport.
 

najaB

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If a people mover was built between Glasgow Airport and Paisley Gilmour St (rather than the tram train plan) then PGS would effectively become the Airport station meaning every service going through the cross city tunnel would be an airport service.
How about driving a TBM from a shaft in the square outside Paisley Gilmour St station to below the main airport terminal?
 

NotATrainspott

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How about driving a TBM from a shaft in the square outside Paisley Gilmour St station to below the main airport terminal?

It would be cheaper to build a surface route. By far the cheapest way to provide a direct link would be to build a cable car, but I think that might be a little too extreme for Paisley.
 

clc

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It would be cheaper to build a surface route. By far the cheapest way to provide a direct link would be to build a cable car, but I think that might be a little too extreme for Paisley.

Or a massive zip slide!!

On a serious note I think the Clyde Valley councils' airport access strategy is too narrowly focused. They've allocated £144 million of City Deal money to the airport link. However, given that they have an infrastructure fund of £1 billion to play with I think they could have been more ambitious and gone for a scheme with wider connectivity benefits. For example, a tram line from PGS to the airport terminal then across the river Cart to Renfrew, Braehead, Govan etc.

It would cost twice as much but would be well worth it and would avoid wrangling with the Scottish Govt over capacity on the heavy rail line.
 

najaB

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It would be cheaper to build a surface route. By far the cheapest way to provide a direct link would be to build a cable car, but I think that might be a little too extreme for Paisley.
I know that a surface route would have lower construction costs but buying the land (again?) would probably be quite expensive.
 

sng7

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Although a people mover could be designed without some of the limitations the railways you could have, for example, tighter curves, steeper gradients and not having to link with the network so the optimal above ground route for it could very probably be different than the original route anyway.
 

clc

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The Scottish Govt has examined Glasgow's proposed Development Plan and concluded that the land required for the High St Curve cannot be safeguarded (page 437).

Land for Garngad Chord cannot be safeguarded either (page 439).

The other components of Glasgow Crossrail will continue to be safeguarded though.

https://www.glasgow.gov.uk/CHttpHandler.ashx?id=34003&p=0
 

clc

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A report on Crossrail by Glasgow City Council in 2011 suggested that the Muirhouse Chord could be built as an alternative to the Strathbungo Link as it would allow Dumfries and Kilmarnock services to call at the new subway interchange at West Street.

Crossrail as proposed by the council isn't happening. However, elements of Crossrail would be built if plans for a new station at St Enoch were taken forward and I wonder what people think of the merits of the council's suggestion in that context?

I envisage that if the Muirhouse Chord was built East Kilbride to St Enoch (4tph) and Barrhead/Kilmarnock to St Enoch (4tph) would be diverted that way. Paisley Canal could also be diverted giving a total of 10tph stopping at the new West Street interchange. The new Gorbals station would have a 6tph frequency assuming all Kilmarnock and half of EK services skip through.

Heres a link to the council report: http://www.glasgow.gov.uk/councillorsandcommittees/submissiondocuments.asp?submissionid=49286
 
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