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TEN PROPOSED ENHANCEMENT SCHEMES IN SCOTLAND

GAUGE ENHANCEMENT FROM BERWICK TO GLASGOW TO W12, INCLUDING THE SHOTTS ROUTE

The route into Scotland from the Eastern side is currently cleared to W9. This route is the East Coast Main Line (ECML) via Edinburgh and Carstairs to Glasgow. Expansion to W12 would enable 9 foot 6 inch containers to be conveyed on this route. At present, only the West Coast Main Line (WCML) can provide access for this size of container to Scotland.

Between Edinburgh and Glasgow, there are currently two routes cleared to W9. These are the Carstairs and the Shotts routes. Having two routes provides diversionary opportunities. To keep a diversionary route, the Shotts route also needs to be gauge cleared to W12.

If gauge enhancement is provided to W12 it will allow the full range of gauge dependant traffic to operate as all other UK freight gauges nest within its profile. These include W9, W10 and W11.

Summary of UK freight gauges

Four loading gauges that accommodate different sizes of deep-sea containers and European swap bodies enhance the basic loading gauge in the United Kingdom.  The four enhanced gauges accommodate containers / swap bodies of the following height (feet and inches) and width (metres):

UK enhanced loading gauges

Name Height Width
W9 9’ 2.6m
W10 9’ 6” 2.5m
W11 9’ 6” 2.55m
W12 9’ 6” 2.6m

The W9 gauge allows small deep-sea containers and restricted European containers and swap-bodies.  W10 gauge accommodates 9'6" deep-sea containers and has been the standard for recent clearances such as Ipswich Tunnel.  W11 and W12 are designed to convey larger European containers and swap bodies that need both additional height and width.

RUN ROUND FACILITIES AT KILMARNOCK

There are coal loading points located adjacent to the Glasgow & South West Line (G&SW). These are Greenburn, Knockshinnoch and New Cumnock. The coal is exported to English power stations. Currently the trains to these points have to travel north and run on a loop between Kilmarnock, Barassie, Newton on Ayr and Mauchline Junction before they can head south. This needlessly uses the capacity between these points. The lines between Kilmarnock and Barassie and between Newton on Ayr and Mauchline Junction are single track, with limited capacity. The line between Barassie and Newton on Ayr is used by the intensive First ScotRail service. 

A run round facility at Kilmarnock would save this move. The trains could operate on the G&SW line to and from Kilmarnock only, all of which is double track. The loop would need to be of sufficient length to allow 23 HTA coal wagons to reverse direction and a locomotive to run round the train.

There is another loop required at Kilmarnock to facilitate the construction of the Glasgow Airport Rail Link (GARL) project. The route between Hunterston and Glasgow via Paisley is currently the only route for the coal flows to Longannet power station. The section between Paisley and Glasgow will be enhanced for the GARL project. This is likely to require significant possessions. To allow the coal to continue moving, a run round facility to the south of Kilmarnock will be required. This will provide the shortest possible diversionary route. An alternative would be a new chord line at Kilmarnock. If these are not provided, the only other diversionary route would be via Carlisle.

CAPACITY IMPROVEMENTS BETWEEN GLASGOW AND ABERDEEN AND GAUGE ENHANCEMENT TO W12

The Scottish Executive is enhancing the gauge of the route between Glasgow and Aberdeen. This will allow 9 foot 6 inch high deep sea containers to be conveyed. This is a first positive step to enhancing the route for freight. This enhancement still requires specialist low floor wagons to convey the containers, as full W10 clearance is not provided.

The next step is to provide additional capacity on the route to allow freight to grow further. Between Perth and Aberdeen the route has limited capacity. A modern signalling system, or more intermediate signals, would unlock capacity. Currently a freight path is only provided in the hours that GNER or Virgin Cross Country do not operate. Any expansion of the passenger service would further educe the available freight capacity.

In addition the route has limited facilities to loop trains. The provision of additional loop which can accommodate modern length freight trains (775m) is also required.

Further expansion of the gauge to W12 would allow the full range of deep sea and European containers, which operate on other parts of the network, to be provided. This would avoid the need to run specialist wagons for destinations beyond Glasgow. 

ELECTRIFICATION BETWEEN MONKTONHALL JUNCTION AND SLATEFORD JUNCTION VIA CRAIGLOCKHART

The main route through Waverly station is electrified. The main freight route via Millerhill is not electrified as an alternative route. This requires any electrically hauled freight trains to either use the Waverly station route, or to change to diesel traction at Millerhill. This is not the optimum solution. Electrification of the route would allow freight trains to remain electrically hauled and to avoid the busy Waverly station area.

The reopening of the route between Airdrie and Bathgate will result in electrification of the route, including Edinburgh to Haymarket. To provide a diversionary route to this line the section between Craiglockhart and Haymarket West / Central Junction will also need electrification. At the same time it would be sensible to electrify the Niddrie to Portobello route. This would provide another route, adding flexibility to the area.

GAUGE ENHANCEMENT OF GLASGOW & SOUTH WESTERN ROUTE TO W12

The WCML is the currently cleared to W9 and W10 gauge. This allows the western side of Scotland to receive the European and deep sea containers. If this route is closed, there is not alternative route for gauge dependant services from the west side of Scotland. The G&SW route provides an alternative route between Gretna and Glasgow. Gauge enhancement of this route would provide an alternative gauge cleared route. If gauge enhancement is provided to W12 this will allow the full range of gauge dependant traffic to operate as all other UK gauges nest within its profile, including W9, W10 and W11.

GAUGE ENHANCEMENT FROM MOSSEND / EDINBURGH TO GRANGEMOUTH TO W12

The route between Glasgow and Grangemouth is currently cleared to W9 gauge. This allows the wider European containers to operate. However it is not cleared for W10 or W12 height containers, which are 9 foot 6 inches high. This prevents EWS from offering a choice of terminal destination in Scotland for this traffic. Mossend is currently the only destination. Grangemouth is a growing terminal in Scotland, and needs this additional capability to continue its growth.

Coupled with the gauge expansion on the ECML between Berwick and Glasgow, an obvious extension is to extend W12 gauge clearance from Edinburgh to Grangemouth via Polmont. This would allow gauge cleared access from both directions to Grangemouth. It would also require a run round facility or a new chord line to provide easier access from the east to Grangemouth. The current access to the Grangemouth is only provided from the west.

REMOVAL OF WEIGHT RESTRICTIONS

On the Scottish network there are some weight restrictions. These affect loaded freight trains by requiring a speed restriction. This is mainly due to under bridges or track formation issues. The effect is to increase the journey time of the trains as they must slow down to cross the restricted area and then accelerate back to normal line speed. As these are in place only for freight trains, it can reduce the capacity of the route for passenger trains. Removing these restrictions would allow freight to operate at normal speed. There are current restrictions at Paisley Gilmour Street, Annbank, Plean and Stirling.

LENGTHEN LOOPS AND MOVING SIGNALS TO ALLOW LONGER COAL TRAINS TO OPERATE

The length of coal trains has increased from Hunterston as coal growth has continued. The standard length coal train is now 23 HTA wagons. The existing lengths of loops were provided for the historic shorter trains. Enhancing the loop length will enable better use to be made of each freight path on the network, and add capacity to the routes. The loops are:

  • Stevenston – between Kilwinning and Ardrossan
  • Elderslie – between Kilwinning and Paisley
  • New Cumnock – on G&SW line

The signal which needs to be moved is PA335. This is located between Newton an Ayr and Mauchline. The signal needs to be moved towards Mauchline so that longer trains can stand on the single line while waiting acceptance by Mauchline box. Currently the trains are delayed standing in Falkland Yard and must wait for a path over the main line which results in late running over the G&SW.

CAPACITY IMPROVEMENTS BETWEEN EDINBURGH AND INVERKEITHING

The headway between trains on the Queensferry to Inverkeithing section is currently 7 minutes. This restricts capacity between the Forth Bridge and Fife circle and Perth. An additional intermediate signal or a modern signalling system would enhance the capacity of the route. 

There is also a 5 minute allowance required in all freight trains crossing the Forth Bridge. This places a restriction on freight trains and the overall capacity of the route. Reducing this allowance would therefore help the overall capacity of the network. 

TRANSFER OF MILLERHILL SIGNAL BOX TO EDINBURGH IECC SIGNAL CENTRE

The existing Millerhill signal box controls the area around Millerhill Yard. The signalling centre at Edinburgh is being altered to take account of Waverley station remodelling phase one. This project is providing additional capacity at the station. Phase 2 of the work should include the transfer of the Millerhill signal box to Edinburgh. This will allow better control of the area, as the Edinburgh would control the entire route from one centre. It will also add flexibility to the area. Currently if passenger trains need to be diverted through Millerhill the points in the area must be secured and “clipped up”. Transfer of the signalling control to Edinburgh would eliminate this.

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