Overhead catenary installed on the main line between Edinburgh and Glasgow won’t have to be taken down and replaced, says Network Rail, as some press reports have claimed.
A report by Glasgow Live stated that parts of the newly fitted OLE would have to be “ripped up and started again” as they had been strung too low. Similar stories were run by the Sunday Post and the Edinburgh Evening News.
Responding to the coverage, Network Rail said the wires had been installed at the correct height and that it was only at some stations and bridges where it was having to review clearances.
The issue which has arisen because of a change in the European OLE TSI standards introduced in 2014 – two years after work began on the project.
A Network Rail spokesman said: “All overhead line equipment installed so far as part of EGIP is at the correct height and no wires will need to be restrung.
“We are, however, reworking OLE designs through some stations and under some bridges to further enhance clearances in line with current European standards. Industry guidance on these standards was issued after EGIP had begun delivery of its route clearance projects in 2012.”
Although Network Rail is downplaying the impact of this conformance issue, the Edinburgh Glasgow Improvement Programme (EGIP) as a whole is under pressure. The ORR’s 2015-2016 ‘Annual efficiency and finance assessment of Network Rail’ showed the cost of EGIP has risen by £32 million. It was also confirmed in July that completion is now scheduled for July 2017 instead of December 2016.
The statement continued: “We remain committed to completing our enhancement programme as quickly as possible and are currently reviewing how best to do this as cost-effectively as we can for the taxpayer and passenger.
“The outputs of our electrification projects remain unchanged and the delivery of the redevelopment of Glasgow Queen Street and the new Edinburgh Gateway station remain on programme.
“A number of factors have contributed to the delay in electrifying the main Edinburgh-Glasgow line and to get things back on track we have pulled together all of Scotland’s electrification schemes under one management team to better oversee limited resources, improve productivity and iron-out procurement delays.
“Electrifying the main line between our two biggest cities will allow us to run faster, longer, more reliable, greener trains and cut journey times while increasing the number of seats available. This is a huge investment in Scotland’s railway that will help transform travel on our network.”