Cumbernauld line to be electrified before 2014 Games

Written by Scott Campbell.
Published at 13:50 BST on Wednesday 4th July 2012.

Cumbernauld’s line as part of the Edinburgh to Glasgow Improvement Programme will soon be electrified as plans were announced by the Scottish Government to electrify the Glasgow's Queen Street to Edinburgh Waverley train route, in an attempt to cut out 10 minutes from journey times.

The £650 million upgrade will see longer trains, equipped with wi-fi, with a larger capacity, in a move that has the possibility of creating hundreds of new jobs.

Cumbernauld’s line will be electrified ahead of the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. Meanwhile, Queen Street Station will be refurbished and a new station will see services from Fife connect to Edinburgh Airport.

The details of the project were outlined by Scottish Government Transport Minister Keith Brown during a visit to Glasgow’s Queen Street Station.

“I am very excited to be announcing the details of the Edinburgh Glasgow Improvement Programme, which will take train journeys on Scotland's busiest commuter route into the next generation,” commented Scottish Transport Minister Keith Brown.  

The Scottish Government’s original estimates placed the cost of the Edinburgh to Glasgow Improvement Programme at around a total cost £1 billion.

“These enhancements to the service will be a massive boost for both cities, and all the communities which surround them, as well as benefiting Scotland's economy as a whole through additional jobs and investment.

Mr Brown added: “And of course, passengers will enjoy quicker journeys, full wi-fi connectivity and better trains.”

However, since the £1 billion estimates, the Scottish Government has “revamped” the plans to realise savings of over £300 million, according to Mr Brown.

The reduced budget will now mean that there will be no immediate increase in frequency of services between Glasgow and Edinburgh, and the announcement has been criticised by Transform Scotland.  

Director Colin Howden said: “Today's announcement is merely a restatement of promises that the Scottish government has already made.

“What the government is actually announcing today is cuts to the Scotland's flagship rail project.

Colin added: “If completing these further phases is dependent on a new high-speed line reaching Scotland then the government is simply kicking these previously-promised investments into the long grass.”