The £15m will enable the outline business case to be produced for the options, which are aimed at delivering capacity and performance improvements. The western approach to Edinburgh Waverley is one of the busiest sections on Scotland’s rail network. This means that a late-running train – even by a couple of minutes – can cause significant delays to other services and often a knock-on impact throughout the wider network.
The preliminary work to improve the rail network on the station’s approaches has been approved by the Scottish government’s transport secretary, Michael Matheson. “With Edinburgh being a key economic driver for the country, a reliable train service is essential for commuter and business travel,” he said. “It provides confidence to businesses and commuters alike, that rail is the best option for their journey and thus enables the continued growth and prosperity of the city.
“One of the key aims of the Edinburgh Waverley Western Approaches project is to provide additional capacity to reduce these constraints, improve performance and give greater resilience across the railway.”
The three infrastructure options to be taken forward are:
- a new chord – the Almond chord – with flat junctions at both Winchburgh and Almond;
- the Almond chord with a flat junction at Winchburgh and a grade-separated junction at Almond;
- the Almond chord with grade-separated junctions at both Winchburgh and Almond.
The work being funded now will include detailed modelling to provide assurance on the performance benefits and help inform which option is most suitable, weighing up costs against the future needs of the railway.
The work will also provide a more detailed understanding of the potential costs of any option being taken forward.