Airdrie-Bathgate Rail Link
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|Airdrie to Bathgate rail link|
Instigated as part of a round of transport improvement projects proposed by the then Scottish Executive in 2003, the plan is to open up a fourth direct railway link between the cities of Glasgow and Edinburgh. It is anticipated that the project will be completed by December 2010, at an estimated cost of £300 million. The rail link received the final approval of the Scottish Parliament on 28 March 2007, and gained Royal Assent on 9 May 2007.
In line with plans to complete the missing part of the M8 motorway, the Executive stipulated that public transport links between Scotland's two largest cities must improve.
The new line will reinstate the Bathgate and Coatbridge Railway between Airdrie and Bathgate, closed to passengers in 1956 and to freight in 1982, joining the North Clyde Line of the Glasgow suburban railway network which currently links the North Lanarkshire town of Airdrie to Glasgow Queen Street railway station, to the Edinburgh to Bathgate Line, which connects with the West Coast and East Coast Main Lines at Haymarket. It will be possible to travel from Edinburgh Waverley station to Glasgow Queen Street Low Level in around 74 minutes. It will complement the existing "shuttle" service between Queen Street High Level and Edinburgh via Falkirk, which will remain the primary railway link between the two cities, taking around 50 minutes at peak times.
Benefits and infrastructure improvements
The line will bring significant benefits to the West Lothian area, which will be better connected to the Greater Glasgow conurbation. New stations will serve the towns of Caldercruix and Armadale, while the new town of Livingston will have an additional direct rail link to Glasgow. The possibility of a station at Blackridge is being investigated by West Lothian Council, but this does not form part of the scheme provided for by the parliamentary Act.
In order to permit four trains per hour in each direction, the following improvements to the existing line will be made:
- The entire line will be double track, doubling the lines between Airdrie and Drumgelloch, and between Bathgate and Cawburn Junction, east of Uphall.
- Upgrading of Newbridge Junction, where the railways from Bathgate and Falkirk to Edinburgh join.
- Rebuilding Drumgelloch and Bathgate stations in new locations.
- Electrification of between Drumgelloch and Haymarket.
Although the initial plans do not mention rolling stock upgrades, they do mention that the new line will be rated for 80 mph running. The Class 320 rolling stock that currently provides the majority of services on the North Clyde route has a maximum speed of 75 mph. Therefore, the rolling stock has been awarded to Class 334 which will also serve the North Clyde line.
Progress and current status
- The start of work was officially signalled with a sod cutting ceremony at Livingston North station in June 2007.
- Contracts worth £300m for design, installation and commissioning of signalling and telecommunications had been awarded by July 2008.
- Remodelling of Newbridge Junction and doubling of Bathgate branch was completed in October 2008.
- Blackridge railway station has now been included as one of the stations to be opened on the line.
- ^ http://www.airdriebathgateraillink.co.uk/docs/NR_folder_fact_sheet_drumgelloch.pdf
- ^ BBC News article - Major rail link project approved
- ^ BBC News article - Rail link scheme gets green light
- ^ "West Lothian Business Portal - Work starts on Airdrie to Bathgate rail link". westlothian.com. 2008-06-21. http://www.westlothian.com/Home/media_centre/newsarchive/1687783. Retrieved 2008-07-11.
- ^ "World infrastructure market July 2008". Railway Gazette International. 2008-07-11. http://www.railwaygazette.com/news_view/article/2008/07/8633/world_infrastructure_market_july_2008.html. Retrieved 2008-07-11.
- ^ [Expression error: Missing operand for > "Blackridge station go-ahead"]. Modern Railways (Ian Allan Publishing) 65 (723). December 2008.
- Official site for the Airdrie-Bathgate railway link
- "Costs going like a runaway train". The Scotsman. http://thescotsman.scotsman.com/index.cfm?id=1524652007. Retrieved 2007-10-02.