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£60m project to refurbish and upgrade Glasgow Queen Street tunnel completed.
Over the last 20 weeks engineers have been working around-the-clock to renew 1,800m of concrete slab track and install more than 4,000m of new rails through the structure.
Station platforms and track layouts within Queen Street have also been extended and altered as part of the project, and both the tunnel and station have been prepared for the electrification of the main Glasgow-Edinburgh line next year.
Since the high level station closed on March 20, nearly 3,000 engineers have worked over half-a-million hours to complete the project by today – nearly three days ahead of schedule – and train services will be reintroduced over this weekend.
The Transport Minister helped tighten the final bolt on the new slab-track inside the tunnel and met with customer service staff who have kept customers moving during the five months of work.
Mr Yousaf said:
"I am pleased to see the work on the Queen Street tunnel completed ahead of schedule and on-budget. This has been an unprecedented project, both in engineering terms and in the scale of the operation required to keep people moving and services diverted via the underground platforms during the works.
"This is a key milestone in our programme of investment for Scotland's railways and literally paves the way for the introduction of a new generation of electric trains.
"I would like to congratulate the ScotRail-Network Rail Alliance on a successful job, and the hundreds of men and women who have worked day and night to deliver the hugely ambitious project. I would also like to thank the passengers who have had to alter their plans for the duration of these works for their patience."
Phil Verster, managing director of the ScotRail Alliance, said: "The successful, early delivery of this project will allow us to introduce faster, longer and greener trains on the main Edinburgh-Glasgow line – delivering thousands of extra seats, shorter journey times and improved accessibility for customers.
"This was a massive engineering challenge and it was only through the careful planning and professional delivery of the project team that we have been able to complete this vital investment in Scotland's railway ahead of schedule.
"I would also like to thank all of our customers who have shown great patience and understanding during the last five months."
With the tunnel works complete, most services will return to normal frequency, with some minor changes to train times and station stops on some lines. Passengers can check their journey at www.scotrail.co.uk or via the ScotRail app.
The tunnel renewal has been delivered by engineers working on the Edinburgh Glasgow Improvement Programme (EGIP) to electrify the main Edinburgh-Glasgow, via Falkirk High, line.
The return of trains to Queen Street high level paves the way for the continued enhancement of the line which will be electrified in 2017 with a new fleet of 70 Hitachi Class 385 electric trains rolled out on a number of routes, including Edinburgh-Glasgow, from autumn 2017.
Over the next three years, works will continue within Glasgow Queen Street as engineers extend the station out towards George Square and create a new concourse and passenger facilities.
The new trains, and station remodelling works, will allow ScotRail to run services of up to eight carriages on the main Edinburgh-Glasgow line from the end of 2018.
The Scottish Government's investment in the redeveloped Glasgow Queen Street station, which is due to be completed in 2019, will see the station transformed into a modern facility with increased concourse space, improved accessibility and remodelled passenger facilities.