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£12m "alliance" investment for Paisley Canal line
Wednesday 11 July 2012
Network Rail and ScotRail have confirmed a £12m joint investment to electrify the 8km stretch of line between Glasgow Central and Paisley Canal by December 2012.
The work will be the first major project to be delivered under a new ‘alliance’ between both organisations.
This closer working relationship prompted a review of the specification required to electrify the route. As a result, the cost will be £12m – significantly down from the original range of estimates.
Cost savings have been secured across all aspects of the project, with innovation playing a major part. The use of extended ‘neutral’ sections when passing under overhead structures means less re-building. This approach neatly avoids the lengthy process of gaining permission to move power and telecoms cabling, often a feature of bridges.
Savings have also been made by careful assessment of required clearance heights, now and for the future. The objective is to provide sufficient clearance that will still allow a DMU to operate if no EMU was available and which will permit potential future freight traffic to Hawkhead station.
Track lowering will be used at key points as this is a lower cost option than raising the height of low structures.
Babcock has been awarded the contract, which begins on site this week.
For its part, ScotRail has waived its right to disruption compensation payments from Network Rail.
It has also taken care to minimise disruption to customers while the work is taking place by timing possessions during the evenings. However, there will be an element of weekend/holiday working to facilitate completion of the project by December.
Customers will benefit in a number of ways: a more comfortable and reliable train service; quiet, eco-friendly trains that at peak times will include the newest trains in ScotRail’s fleet, the air-conditioned class 380s. Class 314s will be used on the route during the day, adding 72 seats to each service.
Electric trains are much greener than their diesel counterparts; and can return energy to the grid through their braking systems.
Susan Anderson, Network Rail’s route commercial manager, said: "This is the first tangible benefit for rail customers to be delivered through this alliance with ScotRail. We are delighted to be able to achieve this much more quickly than under traditional arrangements."
Steve Montgomery, managing director of ScotRail said: “This work is set to deliver substantial benefits for customers while driving down costs. The ground breaking alliance is a leaner, more efficient way of working and sets the standard for future rail projects in Scotland.”
Transport minister Keith Brown added: “This is fine example of joining forces to deliver a cost-effective solution that support the Scottish Government’s ambitions for electrified rail across the network. However, the big winners from the investment are passengers who will notice a marked improvement in performance, comfort and seat availability.”
Bob Whiley, managing director at Babcock said, “We are delighted to be a part of this electrification project, working with Network Rail and ScotRail to help deliver greater efficiencies for the Scottish rail network.”
Both organisations are optimistic that the learnings from this first alliance will generate further opportunities to work together in this way in future.
Nick King, Network Rail Communications 0141 555 4109
Clare Meikle, ScotRail Communications 0141 335 5152
*Note to Editors:
Paisley Canal – Fast Facts:
Designed by Thomas Telford, the Canal Line started life as a canal intended to link Glasgow with Ardrossan.
Converted by the Glasgow & South West Railway in 1885, it closed in January 1983 as a through route to Kilmacolm but reopened as a branch in July 1990, with the service becoming half-hourly a couple of years later on completion of a loop near Crookston.
A plaque unveiled in 2007 at Paisley Canal for the 250th anniversary of Telford's birth commemorates the line's inclusion of the longest aqueduct arch of the canal age over the White Cart river near Hawkhead. Dumbreck Station serves Bellahouston Park, scene of both Papal visits to Scotland. Corkerhill is a railway community with a busy ScotRail light maintenance and traincare depot. Crookston Station has featured in the Evening Times for its adoption by the Friends of Rosshall Park and Gardens.