Network Rail restarts construction projects in Scotland after three-month pause
Network Rail Scotland is restarting work on major construction projects in Scotland following a three-month pause due to the COVID-19 lockdown.
Work on the £120 million reconstruction of Glasgow Queen Street station, the new £14m Kintore station and the completion of the £13m redevelopment of Dunbar station will all resume over the coming weeks.
During the lockdown itself, Network Rail invested more than £64 million in projects to renew and enhance the railway during the pandemic, including laying new tracks and replacing bridges on the West Coast Mainline, improving drainage systems on the Highland Mainline, and upgrading platforms, station roofs, level crossings and other infrastructure across the network.
Redevelopment work will start back at Glasgow Queen Street station this week, focussing on the internal fit-out to the staff management suite, Travel Shop and basement area, as well as the new entrance near the corner of George Square.
Mobilisation is also underway at Kintore station in Aberdeenshire where the project team is currently undertaking risk assessments and expects to resume construction work next week.
The new Kintore station is being delivered as part of the Aberdeen-Inverness Improvement Project and will re-establish a rail link in the town for the first time in over 50 years.
At Dunbar, where a new second platform was added in late 2019, measures are being put in place to allow the team to complete work on cladding the new lift towers and completing the station car park extension.
Transport Secretary Michael Matheson said: “Efforts across Scotland’s Railway, from frontline staff running day to day services to those in planning and maintenance roles behind the scenes, have played a fundamental part in ensuring key workers are able to get to where they are needed during this pandemic.
“While many non-essential projects were rightfully paused, our continued investment in maintaining vital rail infrastructure has given reassurance at a difficult time.
“As we now make the transition through the Routemap to Recovery, it is important we step up work where we can. This will enable us safely to resume key projects such as the new Kintore station and Queen Street station improvements, bringing investment at a time when the supply chain and its workers need it most.
“I look forward to seeing these significant projects make progress because their completion will bring benefits to passengers, workers and the economy alike.”
Kris Kinnear, Network Rail Scotland’s capital delivery director, said: “The rail industry has been working throughout the COVID-19 lockdown to keep key workers and freight services on the move.
“We have also been investing heavily in Scotland’s railway infrastructure throughout this time – keeping vital economic activity going in our supply chain across the country.
“The gradual easing of lockdown means we are now able to restart work on a number of non-essential construction projects that we put on hold during the peak of the pandemic.
“We are now at a significant point where the easing of some restrictions, in line with Scottish Government guidance, is allowing us to restart these projects – albeit within a different working environment that will remain the ‘new normal’ for the foreseeable future.
“We are encouraged by the first steps of work resuming and our focus remains the same as always – safeguarding our staff first and foremost, as they deliver projects that further enhance Scotland’s Railway and the communities it serves.”
Before returning staff and contractors to Network Rail sites, risk assessments are undertaken to make sure that appropriate physical distancing measures and correct protective equipment are in place.