Scottish government transport minister Jenny Gilruth has visited the site of the first new feeder station to be commissioned as part of a £120m investment to boost the electricity supply into the railway network.
The Ferguslie feeder station, which will connect to the network in October and was installed near Paisley, supports the existing infrastructure as well as providing the additional electric power needed to support future decarbonisation of Scotland’s railway.
The investment will see six new feeder stations at strategic locations across the network and a further nine sites upgraded to increase the resilience and reliability of the infrastructure for the operation of electrically powered passenger and freight traffic.
As well as increasing the resilience of the existing network, the new connections to the national grid via the feeder stations will increase the overall capability of the 25kV electrified network.
This will enable future passenger and freight growth and reduce the railway’s carbon footprint by supporting the removal of diesel passenger trains from the network.
It’s all part of efforts to make Scotland’s railway greener in line with the Scottish government’s commitment to decarbonise the passenger rail network by 2035.
With the feeder-station installation and rail-side elements of the project largely complete, work to commission the Ferguslie site will shortly see Scottish Power Energy Networks (SPEN) install transformers to allow the feeder station to connect to the National Grid.
Following testing, the 132,000 volt supply will be passed through the transformers and then sent through the feeder station to power the electrified railway network.
Transport minister Jenny Gilruth, who visited the Paisley site, said: “Upgrading the power supply network at this location will enable the introduction of electric trains on services to East Kilbride and Barrhead and this work will be replicated at five other locations across the central belt to support the Scottish government’s railway decarbonisation programme.
“Our focus is on ensuring we can complete this work as quickly as possible as we work towards our net zero ambitions.
“We want a rail infrastructure for Scotland that helps to cut emissions, to provide sustainable transport for people and for freight, and which provides fair work and highly skilled employment opportunities.
“This project delivers greener travel options for people and for moving freight which will ultimately lead to the removal of many more vehicles from the roads in Scotland.”
Lesley Pringle, project manager for traction power at Network Rail, added: “The £120m investment from the Scottish government for this programme is key to helping us meet our target to decarbonise Scotland’s railway by 2035.
“Ferguslie is the first of the new feeder stations to be commissioned and it will boost the electricity supply to the rail network enabling greener and more sustainable travel options when the electrification projects are complete.
“We are continuing to work hard alongside our contractors and partners to commission this facility in October with a further five new feeder stations coming online between now and 2026.”