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12 January 2016, 17:20
Rail passengers have been warned to expect longer journeys into Glasgow with the Queen Street tunnel to be closed for 20 weeks as part of a £60 million refurbishment programme.
Nearly 2km of track is to be replaced between March 20 and August 8 to enable faster and longer trains to use the tunnel.
The closure mean trains that would normally run in and out of Queen Street high level will be diverted to either Queen Street low level or Glasgow Central, leading to changes to existing timetables and longer journey times in some cases.
Additional carriages are to be added to services to provide extra capacity and queuing systems will be introduced at Glasgow Queen Street and Edinburgh Waverley at peak times, ScotRail said.
The group announced the closure to give people advance notice and information will be displayed at stations in the coming weeks.
Phil Verster, managing director of the ScotRail Alliance, said: "Every day, tens of thousands of people travel through the station on their way to work, to college or university or to visit friends.
"People will still be able to do that while the tunnel is closed - the railway is still very much open for business.
"However, they will see changes to their normal journey. We want to make sure that everyone understands what these change mean for them.
"That is why we are launching our biggest-ever public information campaign.
"In the run-up to the closure we will be speaking directly to our customers, to businesses and to public bodies to give them the information they need and to answer any questions that they might have.
"Upgrading the tunnel will allow us to run faster, longer, greener trains in the future.
"This will mean more seats, shorter journey times and less impact on our environment.
"The long-term benefits of this investment will be considerable, not just for our railway, but also for the country.''
The tunnel work is the latest stage in line improvements between Glasgow and Edinburgh.
Transport minister Derek Mackay said: ``This is a significant milestone in our #5 billion programme of investment in Scotland's railway which is helping to reverse decades of under-investment and substantially modernise our rail infrastructure.
``Although I understand that this work will cause some inconvenience to passengers, the ScotRail Alliance is working to ensure that services are maintained where possible, disruption is kept to a minimum and that passengers are kept well informed throughout the work.''