Posted on February 27, 2013 · Posted in Scotland


Crawford Johnston and Ameet Juttla of URS explained the recent electrification of the Paisley Canal line for which they had been Project Managers.

The line to Paisley Canal had re-opened to passengers as a single line in 1990. Latterly there were concerns about the use of diesels because they could be better used elsewhere and because they struggled to meet the tight performance requirements of the timetable.

Studies had suggested a cost of up to £28m for electrification but a radical approach to costing had brought the capital cost down to £12m and a project team was set up.

26 weeks were allowed from award of contract to completion. The work included extended weekend and mid-week working and a 9 day blockade. First ScotRail waived compensation on short term blockages and First Bus accepted rail tickets during the disruption.

Design approval periods were reduced. Permission was gained to have the overhead wires at the lowest height possible. Thus parapet work only was required at bridges with track being lowered at three of them. There were 200 new masts and 8.8km of new electric route.

Other civil engineering work included drainage work and adjustment to platforms affected by track lowering. Work had been done with the local authority to minimise disruption to residents.

The EMUs now in service created less noise and vibration, created less wear and tear on the track and were, as expected, proving better able to meet the timetable.

Overall the scheme was a remarkable example of the benefits of collaboration (in particular between URS, Babcock and the clients, Network Rail and First ScotRail). The scheme had been delivered 44 days after the first pile was driven and at 57% less then original budget forecasts. The scheme had won an award.