OREANDA-NEWS. April 15, 2016.  Since the high level station closed to trains on March 20, engineers have been working around-the-clock to renew track and key junctions to the north of the tunnel near Cowlairs and to begin lengthening and rebuilding platforms and track layouts within the station.

With the 20-week scheme progressing to plan, the project team has begun the key task of breaking-up and removing over 10,000 tonnes of aging slab-track in the 918m-long tunnel.

When Queen Street high level reopens on Monday, August 8, the team will have worked over half-a-million hours to renew 1,800m of concrete slab track and install more than 4,000m of new rails.

The two lines of track through the tunnel will be broken up and replaced separately with special engineering trains being used to remove old material from the site and deliver the new slab-track sections.

The track will also be lowered to allow the installation of equipment to carry the overhead conductor bar system to electrify the railway through the tunnel ahead of the introduction of faster, greener trains from December 2016 as part of the Edinburgh Glasgow Improvement Programme (EGIP).

Phil Verster, managing director of the ScotRail Alliance, said: “The renewal of the track through Queen Street tunnel is a very complex and technically challenging project and our engineers are working around-the-clock to complete this vital work as quickly as possible for our passengers.

“The work we are doing in the tunnel combined with the electrification of key routes and the wider redevelopment of Queen Street station will deliver significant and ongoing benefits for our customers for decades to come.

“While we understand the disruption this closure has caused to customers, we would also like to thank them for how quickly they have adapted to the new alterative arrangements being used to keep the vast majority of services running via the low level station.”

The tunnel renewal is being delivered by engineers working on the EGIP which will see the main Edinburgh-Glasgow, via Falkirk High, line electrified by the end of 2016.

As part of the project the new EGIP fleet of 70 Hitachi Class 385 electric trains will be rolled out by December 2018 on a number of routes – allowing ScotRail to run trains of up to eight carriages on the main Edinburgh-Glasgow line once the new Glasgow Queen Street station is complete.