Scotland route study backs rail expansion

Network Rail has published its Scotland Route Study, which outlines expected growth in rail usage between 2019 and 2043 and options to enhance the network to meet the future needs of customers.

The study has been developed by Network Rail – in partnership with the rail industry, regional transport partnerships and Transport Scotland – to identify value-for-money choices for funders to improve connectivity, capacity and resilience on the existing network.

There were a number of proposals raised in the study for expanding the rail network in Scotland to enhance the network on existing routes. Although this does not include many of the expansion proposals such as Levenmouth, St Andrews or the extension of the Borders Railway to Carlisle, there were a number of changes that would expand the rail network with new lines or enhance routes to support the restoration of passenger services on freight lines.

HS2 station requirements

The strategy considered the impact that HS2 trains would have on the region. Whilst Carstairs was proposed for an upgrade that would increase line speeds and capacity, it was not expected to use the railway station to separate HS2 trains on an ongoing basis. The issue was handling 400m trains that were expected to operate HS2 trains serving Scotland. Edinburgh would require reconstruction whilst it was suggested that Glasgow may require a new city centre railway station.

Almond Chord

A new chord south of the Fife bridge with a grade separated junction to assist with the effective distribution of train services through the Haymarket corridor.

Fife bypass line

A new rail route between Inverkeithing and Halbeath would avoid Dunfermline. It would help relieve capacity in the area and speed up services on the railway lines in Fife

Dalcross railway station

One of the options put forward to increase capacity on the railway line between Aberdeen and Inverness was the installation of a dynamic loop, which would add a second platform at the yet to be started Dalcross railway station.

Edinburgh south suburban line

Designed to develop the robustness of the network, it was suggested that the Edinburgh south suburban line should be electrified and gauge cleared for larger freight trains. This could potentially support the introduction of passenger trains on the route but is likely to impact the use of trams that some had suggested.

A freight link between Musselburgh and Niddrie West was deemed not practicable after respondents to an earlier consultation document pointed out several developments had been built on the corridor.

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