Scotland's Railway - Potential Enhancement Options

Altnabreac

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I see that there is a shiny new website launched by Scotland's Railway - Network Rail Scotland, Scotrail and other partners.

https://scotlandsrailway.com/

Amongst other things on the new website there is a list of 24 potential enhancements as part of the "Potential Investment Programme"
https://scotlandsrailway.com/images/site/Scotland-Route-Potential-Investment-Programme-Oct-19.pdf

This seems to be pretty much the CP6 scheme pipeline by another name but it is interesting to see the schemes listed here, with some commentary from me:

1 Train Lengthening Fife to Edinburgh Waverley
Presumably this is either to allow for 6 x 23 m coaches up from 6 x 20 or possibly 8 x 23m coach trains?

2 Timetable amendments Glasgow Queen Street High Level corridor
Not sure what it involves.

3 Train lengthening Glasgow Low Level Corridors
Again I suspect this is about moving towards 8 x 23m as a standard Scottish formation.

4 Train lengthening Ayrshire and Inverclyde
Again I suspect this is about moving towards 8 x 23m as a standard Scottish formation.

5 Aberdeen to Inverness Enhancement (Phase 1)
Completion of the existing scheme that is underway.

6 Edinburgh Glasgow Improvement Programme - Queen Street Station
Completion of the existing scheme that is underway.

7 Dunbar new Platform (Dn)
Completion of the existing scheme that is underway.

8 Growing the Lothians and Borders
This is the scheme formerly known as Edinburgh Suburban Enhancement Programme and I think it consists of something like:
Double lead junction at Portobello.
Doubling Portobello - Newcraighall including Brunstane Station
Electrifying South Suburban Line for freight and diversionary capacity

9 Carstairs Area (Renewals)
Does what it says on the tin

10 Seven Cities Connectivity: Glasgow to Perth Corridor Enhancement
This is the schemes previously known as Greenhill Junction remodel and Dunblane to Perth Corridor Enhancements and I think it consists of something like:
Greenhill Junction Grade Separation
Resignalling / level crossing closure / electrification from Dunblane - Perth
Perth remodelling / station rationalisation
New Perth Depot

11 Edinburgh Waverley Western Approach Enhancements
Almond Chord with grade separation at Fife end
Maybe some platform lengthening / alterations at Waverley

12 Glasgow Central Station Enhancements
Maybe some 400m platforms for Cross Border High Speed Rail?
Extra Platform(s) west of platform 15?

13 East Kilbride/Barrhead Corridor Enhancement
Hopefully consists of:
Electrification and redoubling of East Kilbride
Electrification to Barrhead
Platform Lengthening (8 x 23m?)

14 Electrification of Maryhill Line
Self describes

15 Scotland East to England Connectivity
Likely consists of something like:
Calton North Tunnel 2 tracking
Bi directional third line through Abbeyhill
New parallel (offline?) double track Prestonpans - Dunbar

16 Electrification and Enhancement to Kilmarnock/Barassie
Also self explanatory. Good to see Barassie included here.

17 Central Belt to Aberdeen Enhancements
Signalling improvements? Electrification preparation? Usan doubling? Hard to tell.

18 Central Belt to Inverness Enhancements
Perth remodelling / station rationalisation (if not in scheme 10)
New Double track section on Highland Mainline (Newtonmore - Kingussie / Kincraig?)
Resignalling at Dalwhinnie / Blair Atholl / Carrbridge / Dunkeld

19 Aberdeen to Inverness Enhancement (Phase 2)
More double track on Elgin - Inverness section of A2I
Resignalling

20 Far North Line Enhancement
Lentran Dynamic Loop
Kinbrace Passing Loop
Level Crossing / signalling enhancements

21 Central Scotland Gauging
Hard to tell what this includes?

22 High Speed Enabling Projects
Suspect this is about improving speeds for non tilt EMUs on WCML south of Glasgow

23 Levenmouth Railway Reopening
Self Explanatory, good to see it listed though.

24 West of Fife Enhancement Programme
Map hints at this maybe being about Dunfermline - Kincardine - Alloa. No clue as to what is proposed though.

In general no huge surprises but a lot of big schemes in there that will take a lot of work to deliver. Biggest omissions (although perhaps unsurprising as they're huge scale schemes) are Cross Glasgow rail link and Inverkeithing - Halbeath. They're maybe more for the STPR2 level rather than this more medium term look.
 
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GusB

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They also have a television advert which I saw last night. I had a quick glance at the website but I didn't have time to go into it in depth. For a moment I thought it was announcing a Scotrail rebrand.

Edit: it's on YouTube
 

clc

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3 Train lengthening Glasgow Low Level Corridors
Again I suspect this is about moving towards 8 x 23m as a standard Scottish formation.
Would that require Selective Door Operation (SDO) at Central Low Level?
 
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InOban

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I suspect that the station box is more than large enough, but there would be more problem at, say, Argyll street, which was purpose built when the line was reopened and I assume that the box was built for only 6 coaches.
 

47271

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They also have a television advert which I saw last night. I had a quick glance at the website but I didn't have time to go into it in depth. For a moment I thought it was announcing a Scotrail rebrand.

Edit: it's on YouTube
Bizarre. What is this, who are they trying to communicate it to and for what purpose? What does the 'Scotland's Railway' logo represent, and how does that relate to Scotrail Alliance?
 

Peter0124

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In 2021 the Argyle Line will be shut for 2 months, Central Low Level and Anderston will receive refurbishment however argyle Street isnt planned to.
 

roadierway77

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As a frequent traveller on the Fife Circle, train lengthening would be very welcome. Having 2 car services into Edinburgh during rush hour and the festival is really inadequate.

Great to see Levenmouth reopening as well. Theoretically, how would a Dunfermline - Alloa reopening work alongside the current electric terminators into Alloa from Glasgow?
 

jopsuk

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As a frequent traveller on the Fife Circle, train lengthening would be very welcome. Having 2 car services into Edinburgh during rush hour and the festival is really inadequate.

Great to see Levenmouth reopening as well. Theoretically, how would a Dunfermline - Alloa reopening work alongside the current electric terminators into Alloa from Glasgow?
Given other things that have been said, three posibilities:
1. Electric all the way - there may though be outcry at Culross
2. Battery power from Alloa
3. Wires most of the way, with a short gap along the coast at Culross with short range battery power to cross the gap.

Regarding some of the speculation- would certainly be a good thing if they went for 8x23 as the standard across the network- I'm guessing in part it would be supported by the need for more electric trains to replace diesels and to replace the 318/320 fleets- even, given the time span, the 334s.
 

roadierway77

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Given other things that have been said, three posibilities:
1. Electric all the way - there may though be outcry at Culross
2. Battery power from Alloa
3. Wires most of the way, with a short gap along the coast at Culross with short range battery power to cross the gap.

Regarding some of the speculation- would certainly be a good thing if they went for 8x23 as the standard across the network- I'm guessing in part it would be supported by the need for more electric trains to replace diesels and to replace the 318/320 fleets- even, given the time span, the 334s.
If the Kincardine line is electrified, Rosyth - Haymarket would also need to be, unless battery power is used. I'd imagine direct services from West Fife to Edinburgh is more likely than to Dunfermline/Cowdenbeath as there is currently no direct public transport link from West Fife to Edinburgh. This is all on the assumption the Elgin chord is built allowing Kincardine trains to run south towards Edinburgh.

I was wondering what would happen in terms of services - would the Alloa terminators be extended to Edinburgh/Dunfermline or would a new service be instated between, say, Stirling and Edinburgh via Kincardine, alongside the Alloa terminators?

For lengthened trains, I'd be happy enough if they got rid of the 158s and only ran 3 and 6 car services. The 158s can be busy even at midday, whereas that's not as much of a problem with the 170s as they are longer and less cramped.

The dream would be full electrification of the Fife Circle, though I imagine that is far from the first priority at the moment.
 

Osprey17

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2 Timetable amendments Glasgow Queen Street High Level corridor
Not sure what it involves.
Wasn't there some talk about some line-speed increases on the E+G if the existing infrastructure could allow it?

17 Central Belt to Aberdeen Enhancements
Signalling improvements? Electrification preparation? Usan doubling? Hard to tell.
Same as above. I seem to remember there was talk about increasing the line-speeds to 110mph in places when the HSTs first came in.

24 West of Fife Enhancement Programme
Map hints at this maybe being about Dunfermline - Kincardine - Alloa. No clue as to what is proposed though.
Could be a re-opening linked to, but a separate project from, the Levenmouth scheme. A 'Fife Crossrail' service between Levenmouth and Stirling/Glasgow would generate some much needed positive PR in Fife. It would also help with post-Longannet regeneration and give Fife residents an extra commuting option without needing to go via Haymarket.

It would also be handy for any future Dunblane-Perth and Perth-Dundee electrification schemes. It allows for a shorter diversion of Glasgow-Aberdeen services via Fife, while still being able to call at Stirling and not having to find paths on the E+G and Forth Bridge. Though it would need some additional passing places/double track somewhere to make work.
 

railjock

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Wasn't there some talk about some line-speed increases on the E+G if the existing infrastructure could allow it?



Same as above. I seem to remember there was talk about increasing the line-speeds to 110mph in places when the HSTs first came in.



Could be a re-opening linked to, but a separate project from, the Levenmouth scheme. A 'Fife Crossrail' service between Levenmouth and Stirling/Glasgow would generate some much needed positive PR in Fife. It would also help with post-Longannet regeneration and give Fife residents an extra commuting option without needing to go via Haymarket.

It would also be handy for any future Dunblane-Perth and Perth-Dundee electrification schemes. It allows for a shorter diversion of Glasgow-Aberdeen services via Fife, while still being able to call at Stirling and not having to find paths on the E+G and Forth Bridge. Though it would need some additional passing places/double track somewhere to make work.
I can’t see a fife crossrail being viable. Currently there is one service from fife to Glasgow and back per day which will be quicker via winchburgh than snaking along the Forth.
 

Macwomble

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24 West of Fife Enhancement Programme
Map hints at this maybe being about Dunfermline - Kincardine - Alloa. No clue as to what is proposed though.
Talgo have, apparently, decided they are building a factory on the site of the old Longannet Power Station.....so maybe the line via Culross will be re-opened to passengers, and electrified.
 

NotATrainspott

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I can’t see a fife crossrail being viable. Currently there is one service from fife to Glasgow and back per day which will be quicker via winchburgh than snaking along the Forth.
Yes. While this is a rail-focussed document the Scottish Government still won't have fundamentally replaced their transport planning processes. They look at traveller- and community-focussed outcomes and then decide which technical solution is best to deliver it. That can absolutely 100% mean that the answer is better bus services with or without connections onto the rail network. Big chunks of West Fife could probably do best with an express bus service heading over the Kincardine/Clackmannanshire bridges taking them to Falkirk to change onto the existing rail services.

I don't think we'll see 8x23m becoming standard across the Scottish rail network. On the North Clyde electrics services I think 6x23m is as good as you're going to get - there are too many major stations which would need fairly major platform extensions and where SDO wouldn't be appropriate. If there's a need for more capacity beyond that on the North Clyde electrics services then the answer will probably be trains designed with a more metro-style interior.

Of course, going back to the whole traveller- and community-focussed angle, it's also very important to remember how there's those proposals for a Glasgow Metro. While the initial focus would be on new routes like the Airport via Braehead, it's somewhat inevitable that later routes will overlap or replace rail services. If you have frequent trams heading out to Clydebank on the cycle path/old railway line and along Great Western Road, you'd abstract away a good proportion of the current rail passengers on the inner parts of the North Clyde electrics. That would free up space for the network to handle increased passenger demand beyond Clydebank where trams wouldn't be viable. It wouldn't mean closing the stations - rather, just not needing to add more stopping trains to soak up passengers while folk from further afield like Helensburgh or Bathgate get slowed down. It's almost inevitable that the business case for a Glasgow Metro network is going to be dependent on integrated ticketing and timetabling, so it would be a mistake to say that the two networks would be competing with one another.
 

MadMac

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Few observations:

Item 13 - I think I'm correct in saying that East Kilbride never was double?

Item 14 - Including Westerton - Maryhill? There are challenges, although not insurmountable, with the canal.

Item 17 - I read elsewhere that the sort of money needed to double Usan - Montrose (200 million) would probably be used elsewhere on the line for more "value for money" works such as signalling enhancements and the like.

Item 18 - Was any of this ever double? Also, Carrbridge signalling is of the same "vintage" as the other former Aviemore remote loops with no maintainability issues and would presumably only be renewed "stand-alone" if major changes were planned.

Item 19 - I think A2I was only ever double from Aberdeen to Keith?
 

NotATrainspott

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Few observations:

Item 13 - I think I'm correct in saying that East Kilbride never was double?

Item 14 - Including Westerton - Maryhill? There are challenges, although not insurmountable, with the canal.

Item 17 - I read elsewhere that the sort of money needed to double Usan - Montrose (200 million) would probably be used elsewhere on the line for more "value for money" works such as signalling enhancements and the like.

Item 18 - Was any of this ever double? Also, Carrbridge signalling is of the same "vintage" as the other former Aviemore remote loops with no maintainability issues and would presumably only be renewed "stand-alone" if major changes were planned.

Item 19 - I think A2I was only ever double from Aberdeen to Keith?
Electrification of Maryhill would definitely include the links to Westerton and Anniesland. While no electric services may currently be planned, there is no real justification for not wiring up the little link to enable electric diversions in future. The northern chord from Kirkwood to Coatbridge Central got done despite there being no current or future plans for services that way. In Maryhill's case, there's great value in wiring up the link to the North Clyde electrics as you can then run a skeleton service even when there are planned closures of Partick to Hyndland. The 2tph peak paths to Maryhill could run along to Helensburgh, connecting with a Balloch-Milngavie shuttle at Westerton.
 

47271

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Item 18 - Was any of this ever double?
No. The only section of the HML that's currently single and had been double in the past is Moy-Culloden.

They've more need to spend money on putting in more conventional loops than a double track section between Newtonmore and Kingussie.
 

Maxfly

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No. The only section of the HML that's currently single and had been double in the past is Moy-Culloden.

They've more need to spend money on putting in more conventional loops than a double track section between Newtonmore and Kingussie.
Sure the HML was only double from Daviot to Culloden, not Moy?
 

El Blanco

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Yes. While this is a rail-focussed document the Scottish Government still won't have fundamentally replaced their transport planning processes. They look at traveller- and community-focussed outcomes and then decide which technical solution is best to deliver it. That can absolutely 100% mean that the answer is better bus services with or without connections onto the rail network. Big chunks of West Fife could probably do best with an express bus service heading over the Kincardine/Clackmannanshire bridges taking them to Falkirk to change onto the existing rail services.

I don't think we'll see 8x23m becoming standard across the Scottish rail network. On the North Clyde electrics services I think 6x23m is as good as you're going to get - there are too many major stations which would need fairly major platform extensions and where SDO wouldn't be appropriate. If there's a need for more capacity beyond that on the North Clyde electrics services then the answer will probably be trains designed with a more metro-style interior.

Of course, going back to the whole traveller- and community-focussed angle, it's also very important to remember how there's those proposals for a Glasgow Metro. While the initial focus would be on new routes like the Airport via Braehead, it's somewhat inevitable that later routes will overlap or replace rail services. If you have frequent trams heading out to Clydebank on the cycle path/old railway line and along Great Western Road, you'd abstract away a good proportion of the current rail passengers on the inner parts of the North Clyde electrics. That would free up space for the network to handle increased passenger demand beyond Clydebank where trams wouldn't be viable. It wouldn't mean closing the stations - rather, just not needing to add more stopping trains to soak up passengers while folk from further afield like Helensburgh or Bathgate get slowed down. It's almost inevitable that the business case for a Glasgow Metro network is going to be dependent on integrated ticketing and timetabling, so it would be a mistake to say that the two networks would be competing with one another.
I’ve never really been convinced by the Dunfermline - Kincardine route.

West Fife is already well served by Stagecoach Express (X24,X26 and X27) with buses every 15 mins to Glasgow. Admittedly they don’t serve Falkirk however their journey times (save the worst of the peak) would mean there’s little point in changing for the train.

The buses serve the three larger settlements on the route (Dunfermline, Cairneyhill/Crossford and Kincardine) so putting on better buses on the Fife coastal route (Torryburn, Lower Valleyfield, Culross) means money could be better spent elsewhere. Admittedly the West Fife - Edinburgh public transport options are dire however any chord at the east end of the line would miss out the biggest population centre anyway. Better to put bus provision all the way through to Dunfermline Town.
 

Altnabreac

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No. The only section of the HML that's currently single and had been double in the past is Moy-Culloden.

They've more need to spend money on putting in more conventional loops than a double track section between Newtonmore and Kingussie.
Newtonmore station was previously a passing loop but there has never been a prolonged section of double track here.

A dynamic loop somewhere in this area could add significant flexibility to the HML timetabling. It's also been suggested that the Greens will be requiring a significant quid pro quo for supporting the next Scottish Government budget unless the A9 dualling is removed. A significant section of doubling on the HML is the obvious scheme to fulfill that political requirement allowing A9 dualling and HML doubling to proceed in parallel.
 

smtglasgow

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Yes, Kingussie-Dalwhinnie can be a real bottleneck. You can wait 15/20 mins easily if you miss your slot or if something else ahead is running late. I’m less familiar with the southern end of the line, but is there scope for anything to free up Stanley to Dunkeld?
 

smtglasgow

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Reinstating old loops would (you’d think) be the easiest solution. Most of the route would be incredibly hard to double – it’s unforgiving territory – but a couple of extra loops would increase capacity and give some flexibility when things go wrong. Compared to the cost of the A9 works, it’s small beer. If the improved HML services push demand higher, the extra capacity might be very useful – and that’s before you consider any future freight.
 

59CosG95

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22 High Speed Enabling Projects
Suspect this is about improving speeds for non tilt EMUs on WCML south of Glasgow
Possibly Power Supply Upgrades on that corridor too? I know that the WCML is auto-transformer ready on that section, and that increased high-speed EMUs running north of Carlisle might require an upgrade to the power supply.
 

47271

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Sure the HML was only double from Daviot to Culloden, not Moy?
Sorry, you're quite right, I was thinking Daviot and typed Moy.
Newtonmore station was previously a passing loop but there has never been a prolonged section of double track here.

A dynamic loop somewhere in this area could add significant flexibility to the HML timetabling. It's also been suggested that the Greens will be requiring a significant quid pro quo for supporting the next Scottish Government budget unless the A9 dualling is removed. A significant section of doubling on the HML is the obvious scheme to fulfill that political requirement allowing A9 dualling and HML doubling to proceed in parallel.
I totally agree on the politics, it wouldn't surprise me if Pass of Birnam to Tay Crossing, by far the most challenging section of the A9 dualling, becomes a casualty of this tradeoff and one short section of single carriageway remains for many years to come.
Reinstating old loops would (you’d think) be the easiest solution. Most of the route would be incredibly hard to double – it’s unforgiving territory – but a couple of extra loops would increase capacity and give some flexibility when things go wrong. Compared to the cost of the A9 works, it’s small beer. If the improved HML services push demand higher, the extra capacity might be very useful – and that’s before you consider any future freight.
At a minimum Ballinluig, Killiecrankie and Etteridge is where the loops need to be reinstated, no further discussion required. As a long sufferer of poor timekeeping on this route, it's clear to me that delays can balloon on any section of single track. A long dynamic loop between Newtonmore and Kincraig would make a big political statement, but only help when things go wrong between Newtonmore and Kincraig. They could double Etteridge to Kincraig, but if they're doing that we might as well be double Blair Atholl to Kincraig. If there's one section that's going to be easy to double then it's Dalwhinnie to Etteridge.

I sense the danger with HML infrastructure improvements is that they get made to suit an ever more ambitious timetable. They need to be made to cope when a slightly less ambitious timetable goes wrong.
 
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