Long, trou­bled his­tory of the £41m sta­tion

The Sunday Post (Newcastle) - - NEWS SPECIAL -

THE Ed­in­burgh Gate­way plan came into be­ing as a re­sult of the can­cel­la­tion of an­other trou­bled pub­lic trans­port pro­ject – the £650 mil­lion Ed­in­burgh Air­port Rail Link.

Scot­tish Govern­ment min­is­ters, hav­ing re­luc­tantly al­lowed the cap­i­tal’s con­tro­ver­sial tram scheme to go ahead, were in no mood to com­mit cash to plans for an un­der­ground rail­way sta­tion which would have in­volved tun­nelling un­der the run­way.

All was not lost though, ac­cord­ing to the then trans­port min­is­ter, Ste­wart Steven­son, who out­lined an “am­bi­tious, cred­i­ble and de­liv­er­able al­ter­na­tive” in the form of a £20m sta­tion at nearby Gogar on the Ed­in­burgh-Fife line which would be ser­viced by a new loop – known as the “Dal­meny chord” – al­low­ing trains from Scot­land’s two largest cities to alight at the stop.

But the next five years of Scot­tish pub­lic trans­port pol­icy were dom­i­nated by the cri­sis en­gulf­ing Ed­in­burgh’s tram line.

The Gogar rail pro­ject was pushed back be­cause of de­lays to the tram scheme and wran­gling be­tween rail and tram chiefs over its de­sign and this, by 2010, pushed es­ti­mates for the pro­ject up to £35m.

But the next mo­men­tous event in the life of the Gogar sta­tion, now known as Ed­in­burgh Gate­way, came in 2012 when in a bid to shave £350m off the Ed­in­burgh to Glas­gow elec­tri­fi­ca­tion pro­ject the “Dal­meny chord” was cut.

This meant a cru­cial piece of ex­tra track to al­low trains from Glas­gow to call at the sta­tion was not built, starv­ing the tram/train in­ter­change of the pas­sen­ger num­bers it was built for.

Trans­port Scot­land in­sists its pas­sen­ger fore­casts were then up­dated to re­flect the re­moval of the Glas­gow con­nec­tiv­ity and, in 2014, it pub­lished fig­ures which put the cost of the pro­ject at £24.2m.

By 2015 engi­neers were on site and work was com­pleted by December last year when the fi­nal price tag was re­vealed as £41m.

■ Ed­in­burgh’s trou­bled trams.

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