Transport Minister Keith Brown got off his mark with a fact finding visit to the London Olympics Transport Hub in preparation for the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games.
The visit is part of the Minister’s ongoing efforts to ensure robust transport planning is undertaken in advance of Glasgow hosting the Commonwealth Games. It allowed him to hear directly from professionals who worked on London 2012 Olympic Games and Paralympics.
The Minister said:
“Major sporting events like the Commonwealth Games and the Ryder Cup will demand efficient and effective transport arrangements to ensure they run smoothly and realise the many benefits they bring. They are an opportunity to showcase Scotland on a world stage and why this Government takes its role in the planning and delivery very seriously.
“We have already shown we can stand up to the challenge of large events having hosted the papal visit in 2010. We are putting in place staff to take on new functions associated with the 2014 Games and they are working with key stakeholders already. It is also clear there is a wealth of information and expertise already built up among the Games partners in Scotland.
“Lessons can undoubtedly be learnt from London’s experience, and it is vital we grasp these before those involved begin to move onto other roles. The experience of staff in London has been a very positive one, and one which they appear rightly proud of;
“While many aspects of the Glasgow Games will be different from London, this visit today enables me to build an accurate picture of the depth and range of coordination required.”
The Minister had travelled overnight from Glasgow on the Sleeper service, spending the morning touring the Olympic Transport Hub and receiving presentations from core staff involved in the 2012 Games.
As part of the infrastructure planning a number of projects are underway, nearing completion or, in some cases, already finished. These include:
- The Dalmarnock Station Redevelopment combined with capital funding for the modernisation of the Glasgow Subway will improve the public transport experience for games visitors, athletes and volunteers alike.
- All underground stations will be given a “refresh” in time for the Commonwealth Games which is focussed on ensuring all customers are given a good impression of the stations, as well as dealing with normal wear and tear.
- Paisley Corridor Improvements (PCI) which has delivered benefits to rail passengers in the west of Scotland by providing two new platforms at Glasgow Central Station in 2010. The completed PCI works make it easier to maintain this critical rail corridor and reduce the potential for disruption to rail passenger services during the 2014 Games
- The Airdrie to Bathgate route which officially opened in March 2011 on time, and on budget is already showing a significant increase in passenger numbers at existing stations, will deliver a key Scottish Government transport Games commitment, and meets a Games objective by offering a sustainable transport alternative to the car.
- The £41m Access for All (AfA) programme continues to upgrade stations by targeting investment at improving access at railway stations for disabled customers, as well as for those pushing prams or carrying heavy luggage.
- Step free routes between platforms are created, normally by installing new footbridges and lifts or ramps where appropriate. Barrhead, Cupar, Dalmuir, Easterhouse, Kirkcaldy, Motherwell, Mount Florida, Rutherglen, Linlithgow and Montrose stations are all now accessible.
- Works by Network Rail at Hyndland are nearly complete, and works to upgrade access at Perth station have begun. Scottish Ministers have given Newton station priority to receive investment to make the station step free. Newton is an interchange station between the lines serving Hampden Park, Glasgow Central, Dalmarnock the SECC and Scotstounhill.
- Network Rail is also undertaking initial feasibility to improve access at Dunblane, Dyce, Rosyth and Shotts. Works should be complete in time for the Games as the AfA programme should end in April 2014.
- Paisley Canal Electrification - £12m joint investment for rail passengers who will notice a marked improvement in performance, comfort and seat availability. Due to open December 2012.
- Construction of the M74 completion project delivers on one of Transport Scotland’s essential infrastructure commitments to the 2014 Games giving visitors improved access to Glasgow whether travelling north by road from England, or from airports at Glasgow, Prestwick or Edinburgh.
- The Scottish Government’s funding contribution of up to £40 million to the Glasgow Fastlink project core scheme, providing access to jobs, services and communities and improve transport links for the Commonwealth Games.
- Updated traffic and travel information at Games time will be available via Traffic Scotland and Traveline maximising the use of digital media through web, mobile phone applications, internet radio and social media networks.