Blunder sees cables installed too low on Glasgow to Edinburgh rail line

The electrifications of the line between Edinburgh and Glasgow was meant to be completed by December this year. Picture: Jane Barlow
The electrifications of the line between Edinburgh and Glasgow was meant to be completed by December this year. Picture: Jane Barlow
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ELECTRIC cables installed as part of an ongoing £742 million upgrade to the main Glasgow to Edinburgh rail line are too low – and must be replaced, it has emerged.

Passengers face fresh rail misery after workers installed the overhead wires at the wrong height.

The Edinburgh Glasgow Improvement Programme will enable faster-accelerating and longer electric trains to run between the cities. Photo: Network Rail

The Edinburgh Glasgow Improvement Programme will enable faster-accelerating and longer electric trains to run between the cities. Photo: Network Rail

Work on the 42-mile link is at least £32m over budget and seven months late because of the wire bungle.

Rail watchdogs have confirmed the delay on the scheme to run electric trains between Glasgow and Edinburgh is due to some of the route’s overhead wires and railway bridge walls being too low to meet vital safety standards.

The blunder, which has meant ripping up and starting again in some sections, comes as passengers today face a fresh round of time-table chaos.

Read MORE: Rail upgrade delayed by seven months

Critics last night warned the revelations, which follow a summer of delays on 
Scotland’s railways, would push passengers’ patience to “the absolute limit” and demanded action from SNP ministers.

Other rail improvement projects across the country are also in trouble, including:

• An extra £32m was spent on the Edinburgh to Glasgow route last year alone with the overall cost of the £742m scheme set to soar.

• Construction on a £175m project to improve the Aberdeen to Inverness rail line was meant to begin in the spring but has no current start date and latest cost estimates are “significantly” over a £191m cap ordered by regulators.

• Watchdogs doubt journey time improvements between the Central Belt and the Highlands will be completed by the target date of 2019.

Labour’s transport spokesman Neil Bibby MSP said: “The travelling public in Scotland have had to endure a summer of delays and disruption. That pattern of disruption is set to continue due to some fundamental errors.

“There are serious questions to be asked about how investment in our rail infrastructure is being delivered in this country.

“Just a few weeks ago, the transport minister thanked people for their patience but that patience has been pushed to the absolute limit.”

Transport minister Humza Yousaf admitted in July that electric train services between Edinburgh and Glasgow were unlikely to be completed by December this year – seven months behind schedule.

Mr Yousaf said at the time the news would “increase the cost of the project beyond the previous £742m estimate” but stopped short of giving an updated price tag.