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Further delay to rail project

Electric trains delayed by faulty components

Hitachi trains

New Hitachi trains waiting for service

The introduction of electric trains on the Edinburgh-Glasgow rail line has been delayed further because of problems with safety components.

Transport minister Humza Yousaf told MSPs that the new fleets will now be brought into service later than planned.

It follows a postponement of the original completion date in December because of other difficulties with the Edinburgh Glasgow Improvement Project (Egip).

Network Rail chief executive Mark Carne said in a letter to the Scottish government: “Regrettably, it is now clear that a safety critical component is susceptible to failure and must be replaced.

“This will impact the energisation start date. We are working extremely closely and collaboratively within the ScotRail Alliance to assess how the impact of this challenge can be minimised for passengers and we will keep your officials fully informed.”

The latest problems will delay overhead electric power cables going live and could also postpone the start of an all-electric service of new trains on the line from December, according to The Scotsman.

Faulty equipment in the overhead power lines may have to be replaced over the entire 46-mile route, says the paper.

Mr Yousaf told MSPs any further delay after the earlier problems announced last summer would be “extremely disappointing”.

A Scottish Government spokesman later described the situation as “wholly unacceptable”.

Once complete the £742 million project will enable faster-accelerating, longer and greener electric trains to replace diesels on the route via Falkirk High.

The first of a fleet of Japanese Hitachi trains are due in service from September, with the last diesel trains replaced in December.

Edinburgh to Glasgow journeys will be shortened by about ten minutes to 42 minutes.

Mr Yousaf said the delay further highlighted the need for the devolution of control over Network Rail so the Scottish Parliament could properly hold it to account over its projects and spending north of the Border.

 

The Egip Alliance includes construction firms Costain and Morgan Sindell.

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