Edinburgh Haymarket upgrade revealed

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Rail chiefs on track to complete a major, £25 million overhaul of Haymarket are using the same sort of plastic on the roof that was used at the Beijing Olympics.

Allowing the Evening News in for an exclusive sneak peek, delighted bosses have also revealed they want the redevelopment to be used as a model for all new stations across the country, claiming the upgrade could not have been done any better without unnecessarily blowing public funds.

The project to upgrade Scotland's fourth busiest station is now reaching its final phase.  Picture: Phil Wilkinson

The project to upgrade Scotland's fourth busiest station is now reaching its final phase. Picture: Phil Wilkinson

The overhaul to Scotland’s fourth busiest station is entering the final phase of construction, with the last section of roof to be installed over the new concourse in the next fortnight.

Builders are using a high-grade transparent plastic known as EFTE to build the new roof.

Bubbles of the plastic, which can be made into glass-like sheets or inflated in pillows, were used to build the ground-breaking Water Cube aquatics stadium for the Beijing Olympics.

Network Rail Haymarket project manager Tom McPake said the station that passengers would end up with was genuine value for money.

He said: “It’s the best facility we could get in the location we’ve got. It’s very high-quality finishes. There’s nothing in there that’s cheap and cheerful. It’s ten times the size of what we’ve got now. It’s a massive open space. No-one will feel constrained in here, even when the capacity starts increasing.”

The site visit showed three lifts in the process of being installed. Scaffolding around the concourse will be pulled down in the next two weeks, with steelwork for the station’s three new escalators to be dropped in this weekend.

The escalators will be running in three months’ time, with the redesigned station firmly on track to open in December.

The redevelopment will triple the concourse floor space to 8700sq m, catering for a predicted 125 per cent increase in passenger numbers over the next 15 years.

An upper mezzanine floor has been built as part of the concourse and will carry retail units and office space. Extra toilets and a waiting room will be part of the platform four revamp.

Mr McPake said the summer heat had also been taken into account with the design of Haymarket’s new roof to avoid the “greenhouse effect” experienced at nearby Waverley in recent weeks.

He said: “There are sacrificial panels that open when the temperature reaches a certain level.

“It will give you a through flow of air, so the space will feel a lot cooler in summer.”

Rail consultant and author David Spaven described the improvements at Haymarket as “long overdue”.

Mr Spaven said: “I think in general it looks like it’s going to be a very good station. The one concern that I’ve had is that there’s been a lot of talk about the interchange with the trams, the interchange with buses, taxis and even bicycles, but the one issue that seems to be largely forgotten is that most people get to Haymarket on foot.

“I’ve seen figures showing that 70 per of all journeys are completed on foot from Haymarket. Walking access around the junction is very important, but typically it’s been poor with a series of very narrow pavements.”

The council has no plans to upgrade pavements at the site, but said it would be looking at ways to improve the city’s public realms.

Passengers will be able to reach the station’s new concourse through two entrances – a new access route on to Haymarket Terrace and one towards Morrison Street.

One of the entrances will service the new tram stop, located opposite Rosebery Crescent.

Danderhall depot to house electric train fleet

A DEPOT will be built near Danderhall starting from next year to store Scotland’s new fleet of electric trains.

The building, which will be big enough for 20 four-carriage trains, will be constructed at Millerhill in Midlothian, near the City Bypass. It is understood the depot will cost more than £30 million.

The major investment is part of the Scottish Government’s £650m Edinburgh Glasgow Improvement Programme (Egip). The main line linking Edinburgh Waverley, Falkirk and Glasgow Queen Street will be electrified under the programme.

The move is expected to slash journey times between Scotland’s two biggest cities from 50 to 42 minutes.

The tendering process for the Egip contract was launched this month and is due to be decided in September.

Longer electric trains will be used along the key route and stored at Millerhill. A train wash facility will be installed at the new depot, with maintenance works to be carried out on-site for the new fleet.

The facility is due to be finished at least six months before the electrified route into Edinburgh goes live in 2016.

A new £30-35m station is also built at Gogar and will be known as Edinburgh International Gateway.

The station will have two platforms and will be available for Edinburgh to Fife trains.

Network Rail project manager Tom McPake, above, said: “Gateway is a good site. It’s not railway locked, so we’re not having to build it over an operational station.”