Edinburgh International Surface Link
Outline proposals for review and comment
Home EARL, Gogar and trams Development and objectives EISL A EISL B Conclusions About

Edinburgh International Surface Link (EISL) is a proposed rail link to Edinburgh Airport. Two options are presented here:

  • EISL A provides a station 1700m south of the airport terminal;
  • EISL B provides a station 300m south of the airport terminal.
Either proposal will provide:
  • Up to 17 trains per hour to and from Edinburgh Waverley with no additional rolling stock required;
  • A single station with four platforms capable of providing frequent services to most parts of Scotland;
  • Step-free indoor access from the station to the airport terminal;
  • A phased approach to construction, allowing the project to be developed and financed incrementally to match the prevailing economics and politics;
  • No dependency on the move of the Royal Highland Centre from its current location;
  • Inherently safe rail design with no at-grade crossings or crossings in tunnels;
  • Low construction risk with no tunnelling under any river or airport runway;
  • Operational flexibility and service reliability, balancing traffic density on the four tracks through Haymarket (replacing the need for the proposed Dalmeny chord project);
  • Protection of high speed running on the flagship Edinburgh and Glasgow line via Falkirk;
  • Future-proofing, compatible with either: (a) major expansion of the airport and the construction of a second main airport runway; or (b) a planned decline in aviation for environmental, economic or political reasons, requiring alternative long-distance surface transport within the UK serving the business and exhibition hubs of West Edinburgh.
EISL A provides:
  • A grade-separated station at Norton Park, south of the A8 road and integral to the planned new site for the Royal Highland Centre, offering easy rail access for exhibitions and shows, as well as a direct airport link;
  • A dedicated elevated airport shuttle between the new station and the airport terminal;
  • An initial phase, serving the Edinburgh to Glasgow lines, both via Falkirk and via Airdrie, costing less than £540 million (including 44% optimism bias);
  • Costs for all phases (if built simultaneously) less than £850 million.
EISL B provides:
  • A station within 300m of the airport terminal in a cutting that will allow future development of the airport to bridge the rail lines if necessary;
  • A covered moving walkway to the airport terminal;
  • An initial phase, serving only the Airdrie-Bathgate line, costing less than £250 million (including 44% optimism bias);
  • Costs for all phases (if built simultaneously) less than £600 million.

These proposals are compatible with and complementary to the Scottish Government’s proposals for a new railway station at Gogar, providing interchange with Edinburgh’s trams to the airport, but only if that station is sited south of the A8 road. The proposals also replace the need for any other rail works after building Gogar station, specifically the Government’s proposed Dalmeny chord, whose function either of these proposals would more than fulfil.

The purpose of these initial proposals is to solicit interest in developing the proposals further to demonstrate their feasibility, confirm a business case, identify funding options, refine the proposed alignments and refine the cost estimates. Readers are invited to consider the merits of the two proposals (EISL A and EISL B) and to comment on the benefits and disadvantages of each. Readers are encouraged to identify any technical shortcomings in the proposed alignments or outline design and to propose improvements. The proposals will be updated and refined to reflect constructive comments received.

Comments on the proposals are welcome and should be sent to: admin@eisl.org.uk

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