Barrhead - Kilmarnock Enhancement
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BackgroundThe railway between Barrhead & Kilmarnock was opened in the 1870’s and right up until the 1970’s it boasted a double track. Today it has a single track line, the stations have small bus stop type shelters and an inadequate peak hour service.
The service deteriorated in the sixties and government approval was given to close the line completely and replace it with a bus service. It was saved after a vigorous campaign by the communities served by it but this meant that cutbacks were inevitable and that is how the line lost it's double track and with it the prospect of a decent rail service.
- The line is a single track from Barrhead to Kilmarnock with a passing loop at Lugton and this why a frequent service is restricted causing overcrowding during peak periods. For several years the railway service has been improving thanks to SPT and their subsidies however this has always stopped short of reinstating the double track.
- In 1984 Kilmaurs was reconnected to the railway network with the building of a new railway station, it was built a stones throw from where the old station was sited several years earlier. Through lack of hindsight and financial restrictions, the new station was built on the down old track bed making any chance of a reinstatement of the double track impossible without demolishing and relocating the station (again).
- The reinstatement of all or part of the double track from Barrhead or Lugton to Stewarton, with a second platform for Stewarton & Dunlop the scheme of installing a dynamic loop has been touted for several years but has came to nothing.
- The overcrowding during peak periods could be eleveated in the short term by the addition of a third sprinter train unit to the already double set or using other higher capacity rolling stock. However this can only be done by lengthening the platforms at Kilmaurs & Dunlop stations to accommodate them.
- Double tracking and electrification throughout
ProgressIn answer to a written Parliamentary question in May 2006, Tavish Scott, Transport Minister, answered : "SPT have commissioned Network Rail to look at provision of a new dynamic loop between Stewarton and Dunlop with the option for this to be extended to Lugton. Transport Scotland are working with SPT and Network Rail on progressing this scheme as quickly as possible".
A dynamic loop works by allowing two trains to pass without having to stop. This will allow services between Kilmarnock and Barrhead to be doubled to every half-hour.
On June 15th 2006, The Kilmarnock Standard had front page story on the 'dynamic loop'.
Councillor Watson was quoted as saying the £20 million for the work is in place and construction is due to commence soon, for a completion in 2008.
The MOD have advised that they no longer need the Giffen branch which means the loop can be extended and Lugton signal box closed with Kilmarnock signal box taking over control of this section.
August 2006: Funding has recently been secured from Transport Scotland to build the dynamic loop.
The 5.5 miles of new track will extend from the existing Lugton Loop to a point just south of Stewarton Station and second platforms will be constructed at Dunlop and Stewarton. Platforms at the these stations, and the single platform at Kilmaurs will be capable of accommodating 6-car trains.
Network Rail appointed Jarvis as the main contractor for the engineering works.
Track works commenced in September 2008 with works on the stations due to start early in 2009.
Works should be completed by October 2009 for the half-hourly Kilmarnock - Glasgow service to start at the December timetable change.
- Network Rail's Presentation to Stewarton Residents on the upgrade (MS PowerPoint file)
- Signalling Plan for Lugton Dynamic Loop