The £160M Shotts line electrification project between Edinburgh and Glasgow has been completed on time despite having to replace main contractor Carillion after it went into administration.
Carillion in joint venture with Powerlines Group was awarded the £49M contract to electrify 74km of railway between Holytown Junction and Midcalder Junction in January 2017 alongside a £11.6M station upgrade deal, as part of the wider £160M scheme.
The electrification work was part of the Scottish government’s rail strategy to add capacity and reduce journey times.
Network Rail said it took more than 1M hours to install the 1,400 masts that have been erected to carry the 223km of overhead wires needed to electrify the line.
Major modifications have also been carried out at 17 bridges – including the removal of some and demolition and reconstruction of others - along the route to create the clearance needed for the new overhead lines.
The project also upgraded or extended platforms at nine stations, delivered step free access at West Calder and completely redeveloped two stations at Breich and Livingston South.
Electric trains will run on the line from May.
Scottish transport secretary Michael Matheson said: “Today’s announcement is further proof of Scottish Government commitment to Scotland’s Railways. This £160M investment in the Shotts line will be genuinely transformational, enabling new, longer and faster trains and providing a better travelling experience for passengers all along this route for many years to come.
“As well as improving connectivity between North Lanarkshire and West Lothian, the investment will both stimulate growth in passenger numbers and make it easier for people from these communities to connect to employment, education and leisure opportunities in our largest cities.”
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