Anger in Cumbernauld and Kilsyth as rail link plan hits the buffers

Ron McAulay, Scotland Director forNetwork Rail, at Queen Street Station, which would have been linked directly with Cumbernauld via the Garngad Chord proposal
Ron McAulay, Scotland Director forNetwork Rail, at Queen Street Station, which would have been linked directly with Cumbernauld via the Garngad Chord proposal

RAILWAY improvements which would have significantly cut journey times from Cumbernauld to Glasgow have been dropped, prompting an angry reaction.

The Garngad Chord, which was initially proposed as part of the Edinburgh to Glasgow Improvements Programme (EGIP), was intended to link trains directly with Glasgow Queen Street, removing the need to first travel into Springburn.

Network Rail have now taken the decision to axe the project as they believe the cost of the work would outweigh any of the benefits.

However, campaign group Railfuture Scotland say that isn’t the case. Ken Sutherland, research officer for the organisation, said: “This railway downgrading results from an imposed two- kilometre detour up to, and back from, Springburn station, with the comic requirement for the driver having to leave the train, walk the length of the Springburn platform and then reverse the train backwards into Glasgow.

“Despite being electrified, this route will only operate a handicapped service.

“Many commuters, both existing and potential, are likely to shun this uncompetitive toyland train route in preference for increased car commuting along the splendid new M80 motorway alternative.”

He added: “Those residing in, and travelling outwards from, the catchment area of this line, for work, educational, medical, shopping and leisure purposes have every reason to feel badly let down and disadvantaged, socially and economically, by this abandonment of the previously promised Garngad Curve improvement. .”

MSP Jamie Hepburn said that he would be making a submission to Network Rail’s consultation on the improvements programme, adding: “That will include a call for the Garngad Chord to be taken forward.”

A Network Rail spokesman said: “The Garngad Chord does not represent good value for money. There are significant engineering challenges to its delivery while some of the land may not be suitable for construction due to previous industrial use.”

The spokesman added: “The high cost of addressing these issues makes this particular project unfeasible, especially when EGIP can be delivered by enhancing the existing railway infrastructure.”