Ground investigation works are underway for the East Kilbride Corridor Improvement programme.
This aims to improve the line so that four eight-car trains an hour can run during the peak periods of 07:00-10:00 and 16:00-19:00 on weekdays. These trains will ultimately be zero-carbon in line with the Scottish Government’s aspirations to decarbonise Scotland’s rail passenger services by 2035.
To achieve this service frequency, several infrastructure changes are planned:
- Enhanced passenger facilities at East Kilbride station, including a new building and improved circulation space;
- Double tracking (part/full) the single-line section between East Kilbride and Busby station;
- Moving Hairmyres station to a new location, approximately 600 metres to the west;
- Electrification between East Kilbride and Glasgow Central, including of the Larkfield Curve;
- Platform extensions to accommodate longer trains.
Scottish Transport Secretary Michael Matheson has visited the ground investigation works to see first-hand the preparatory works taking place that will help inform robust costs, options and decision making for this scheme.
He said: “I recently published our plans for decarbonising Scotland’s railways as it sets out ambitious but achievable plans to decarbonise our rail passenger services by 2035, five years ahead of the UK target.
“These plans will help to deliver a variety of benefits to the economy, the environment, and to passengers and freight users. Electric trains improve performance and reliability, are faster and quieter and produce less emissions than other forms of transport such as the private car.
“Providing more seats, frequent services and better active travel options to stations will help encourage a greater number of car users to switch to rail driving down transport emissions.
“It is great to see that we are already moving ahead with the preparatory works here on the East Kilbride route, showing real commitment from all involved to work in partnership on bringing the action plan to fruition. I was also pleased to meet with the engineers and graduates working on this project, which outlines our commitment to supporting jobs in the industry. I look forward to returning here in the future to see further signs of progress.”
He was accompanied by Alex Hynes, managing director of Scotland’s Railway, who added: “We’re working hard alongside the Scottish Government to bring the benefits of electrification to communities across Scotland.
“The government has set an ambitious target to decarbonise our network by 2035 and projects such as this on the East Kilbride line will be key to delivering on that commitment.
“We are also examining how new technologies – hybrid, battery-powered and hydrogen trains – could be used to decarbonise lines where electrification may not be a practical option.
“And we’re looking at how we reduce the carbon footprint of our offices and our worksites, too, including trialling solar-powered generators for our track maintenance works.”
Nissar Mohammed, rail operations director for contractor BAM Nuttall, said: “BAM is excited to have this opportunity to contribute further to the development of Scotland‘s railway network.
“For BAM, decarbonisation is about more than simply electrifying the railway – it’s about thoughtful design, environmentally sound construction techniques and use of local labour and resources to reduce the impact of project delivery.
“We look forward to delivering attractive rail infrastructure that enhances the communities it serves and contributes positively towards a reliable, environmentally sustainable train service.”