Network Rail Scotland is restarting work on major construction projects across Scotland’s Railway following a three-month pause due to the Covid-19 lockdown.
Work on the £120m 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.
Network Rail has continued to play a key role in keeping Scotland’s economy moving during the lockdown period – investing more than £64m in projects to renew and enhance the railway during the pandemic.
With Scotland now entering the second stage of the Scottish government’s plan for a phased return for the construction sector, redevelopment work will start back at Glasgow Queen Street station this week.
Mobilisation is also underway at Kintore station in Aberdeenshire where the project team is currently undertaking risk assessments and expects to resume construction work by the end of June.
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.
During lockdown, Network Rail has completed a range of projects across Scotland’s Railway – 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.
Michael Matheson, Scottish cabinet secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity, 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.