The Anonymous Widower

Mystery Tours Of Glasgow

On Saturday, I was staying at Stirling near to the station and wanted to get to Glasgow to have a look at the closure of Queen Street station, for upgrading Queen Street Tunnel, platform lengthening and electrification work.

This article on Network Rail’s web site, which is entitled Glasgow Queen Street Tunnel upgrade, says this.

The work is starting just before the Easter bank holiday weekend, and lasting much longer, with a 20-week closure of the high-level Glasgow Queen Street Tunnel from Sunday 20 March to Monday 8 August so that the concrete slab track inside the tunnel can be renewed safely.

It’s the largest piece of engineering on the Edinburgh to Glasgow line since the railway was built. Renewing more than 1,800 metres of slab will mean 10,000 tonnes of existing concrete slab will be removed, as well as 4,000 metres of new rails laid, and more than 150 staff will be working on the project every day during the 140-day period.

A lot of other work will also be done at the same time.

So Network Rail and Scotrail have called up the spirit of Baldrick, and devised a cunning plan. This map shows the rail lines in the Glasgow area.

Glasgow Rail Lines

Glasgow Rail Lines

My route in from Stirling to the low-level platform at Queen Street was something like.

  • Larbert
  • Croy
  • Lenzie
  • Bishopbriggs
  • Springburn
  • Duke Street
  • Belgrove
  • High Street

Coming back from Glasgow Central, the route was something like.

  • Mount Vernon
  • Bargewddie
  • Kirkwood
  • Coatbridge Central
  • Cumbernauld

Although the train didn’t stop until Stirling.

These are some pictures taken on the Jouney into Glasgow

And these were taken on the way out.

It certainly seems there are more wayus of moving trains through Glasgow, than most other cities.

You almost wonder looking at these pictures and the routes that I took, that Network Rail and Scotrail have an alternative philosophy.

  • Most platforms seem to have been lengthened to at least eight cars, which mean they’ll handle two Class 385 trains coupled together.
  • Most of the lines through Glasgow seem to either be electrified or seem to be having wires installed.
  • It should be noted that the route I took back to Stirling, would also enable a service to be run from Carlisle to Perth via Motherwell, Coatbridge, Cumbernauld and Stirling.
  • Once, the TransPennine routes are electrified, Manchester to Edinburgh can go up the East Coast.
  • Are Network Rail going to apply some of the innovative interchange philosophy I wrote about in Better East-West Train Services Across Suffolk?

If electric trains can get everywhere and they are twice the capacity of the current diesel trains, then mathematics and scheduling rules, says you can get more trains through the system.

So could they be looking to increase the capacity of the two Glasgow stations and open up circular routes between them?

I don’t know the answer, but I do believe that when the EGIP program is complete, it will be interesting to see if more passengers are able to use the trains. What is being done is very different to previous proposals.

June 21, 2016 Posted by | Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

Carlisle To Glasgow By The Scenic Route

One of the reasons for my trip to Carlisle station, that I wrote about in Carlisle Station Gets A Makeover, was to explore the Glasgow South Western Line, which was the only line in the Borderlands, that I hadn’t explored.

These pictures tell the story.

My first reaction to the line is that, the well-maintained stations need more services.

I’ll put my thoughts in the following section.

More Services

Abellio Scotrail have ordered new electric Class 385 trains from Hitachi, which comprise eighty train sets, that total 192 carriages.

These can’t run on the Glasgow South Western Line, but will replace several modern diesel multiple units for service all over Scotland.

I suspect that if the Borders Railway gets four car trains, then there would be some lengthening and increase of frequency on this route.

Incidentally, the conductor on the train I took, said that more services will certainly come.

An Improved Diversion Route

What is more likely to drive improvements is the need for a diversion or alternative route for the West Coast Main Line between Glasgow and Carlisle.

Reasons could include.

  • The West Coast Main Line is very busy.
  • Diversions because of blockades or bad weather.
  • There is a need for more Anglo-Scottish freight services.
  • Freight services will be increasingly hauled by electric or bi-mode locomotives.

Unlike many diversion routes, the Glasgow South Western Line is an 80 mph line with sections of double-track and 100 mph maximum speed


Electrification of the diversion route, would probably be essential, as most traffic on the West Coast Main Line uses electric traction.

The conductor I spoke to, was surprised that British Rail hadn’t electrified the line in the 1970s, at the same time of the major West Coast Electrification.

As schemes go, it wouldn’t be the most expensive of schemes., as the line appeared to go through fairly easy countryside, with not many bridges and tunnels.

But the biggest advantage is that at both ends of the line, there are electrified lines, that can be used to provide power for the line at both ends.

Look at this Google Map of Gretna Green station‘s position with relation to the West Coast Main Line..

Gretna Green Station And The West Coast Main Line

Gretna Green Station And The West Coast Main Line

At the Northern end of the line, there is masses of electrification in and around Glasgow.

Electrification of the route must have other advantages.

  • Services could be provided by Class 385 trains.
  • Kilmarnock gets an electric train service.

But surely,  the biggest, is that modern electric trains would speed up the service considerably.






June 21, 2016 Posted by | Transport | , , | Leave a comment

Carlisle Station Gets A Makeover

In If Manchester Victoria And Birmingham New Street Were The First Two Courses, Is Carlisle The Third?, I wrote how Carlisle station was going to get a £14.7 million upgrade including a new ETFE roof.

These pictures show the progress.


  • There are two through lines in the station for freight and other trains that don’t stop.
  • The four bay platforms at Carlisle are all electrified to some extent and it wouldn’t be the biggest task to make the station fully-electrified.
  • It looked to me like a lot of the magnificent station building, isn’t being used to its full potential.
  • The welcoming square outside the station needs an upgrade to become a real gateway to Carlisle.

I think that after the makeover, it will be a second very high-class station to mark the border between England and Scotland.

Carlisle could be in a unique position in a few years.

  • It is already the best connected city in the Borderlands.
  • Published plans mean that electric express trains will serve Birmingham, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Liverpool, Manchester and Manchester Airport, at least once an hour, with some places getting at least double.
  • As I wrote in Arriva Rail North’s New Trains, new CAF Civity trains will be arriving, in both electric and diesel variants.
  • After the current landslide at Armathwaite  is cleared up on the Settle-Carlisle Line, these new trains will surely be running at least an hourly service to Leeds.
  • The new trains will be providing an improvement in comfort, speed and possibly frequency on the hourly service to Newcastle, on the Tyne Valley Line.
  • The new trains, would surely work their magic on the Cumbrian Coast Line around the Lake District.
  • Scotrail is getting new trains too, and will some be used to provide a better service to Glasgow via Dumfries and Kilmarnock, using the Glasgow South Western Line.

If this doesn’t increase the numbers of tourists taking a rail-based exploration holiday of the Borderlands and the Lake District, I would be extremely surprised.

I’m not the only person, who thinks this way, as in the July 2016 Edition of Modern Railways, Theo Steel discusses options for the increase in traffic on the Settle to Carlisle Line.

In addition, other developments may happen, that will also increase Carlisle’s importance to the Anglo-Scottish  railway system.

  • The events of this winter, where the West Coast Main Line was closed because of bad weather, could see the Glasgow South Western Line improved and electrified to provide a valuable diversion route for train services between England and Glasgow.
  • There could be a need for more Anglo-Scottish freight trains, but the West Coast Main Line is very busy. So will this mean that freight trains will increasingly use  secondary routes like Settle-Carlisle and the Glasgow South Western Line.
  • Carstairs station sits between Carlisle, Edinburgh and Glasgow and I can’t believe that Scotrail won’t use their new trains to improve services through the town. As ever, the improvements in services around Carstairs,  will probably be driven by the need for new housing and commuting to Glasgow and Edinburgh.

The big question though, is whether the Borders Railway will ever get to Carlisle. If it does, then Carlisle will be ready with a refurbished and electrified platform, alongside the one currently used for services on the Glasgow South Western Line.

Network Rail seem to deserve a few plaudits for their foresight in preparing Carlisle station for the future.

June 21, 2016 Posted by | Transport | , , , | 1 Comment