Network Rail completed track laying on the new 24km stretch of railway between Airdrie and Bathgate last Friday, making it the longest domestic passenger railway with new stations to be built in Britain for a century.
A 200t mobile track laying machine ran through the site of the relocated Drumgelloch station over the course of two hours, completing the soon-to-be electrified rail link between West Lothian and North Lanarkshire.
By December, the line will carry four trains an hour in each direction, opening up travel options between Scotland’s two biggest cities. Transport Scotland provided £300M funding for the scheme.
The rail link includes three new stations at Calderdruix, Blackridge and Armadale as well as two relocated station in Drumgelloch and Bathgate. Four trains an hour will operate in each direction running as far west as Helensburgh and Milngavie and as far east as Edinburgh.
“The completion of this brand new stretch of railway has historical significance but its real significance will become apparent over the next couple of decades. In North Lanarkshire and West Lothian, this rail link will rejuvenate the area by encouraging investment and will encourage even more people to travel by train between Edinburgh and Glasgow.
“We still have a significant amount of work to do,” said Network Rail director, Scotland Ron McAulay. “[Work continues on] installing signaling and overhead cables as well as completing the three new stations and the relocation of two other stations but we’re confident that we will deliver on schedule.”
“Scotland has the most ambitious climate change legislation anywhere in the world and our climate change delivery plan means persuading motorists to get out of their cars and use more sustainable forms of transport,” said transport, infrastrastructure and climate change minister Stewart Stevenson.