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Further electrification work to begin on Shotts line as NR awards £11.6m contract

Network Rail is to begin further electrification work on the Shotts line between Holytown Junction and Midcalder Junction after awarding an £11.6m contract today.

The work is part of £160m of electrification upgrades to link Edinburgh and Glasgow – expected to be completed by March 2019.

Carillion Powerlines Ltd has won the contract to do further work on the Shotts line to help the introduction of ScotRail’s new Class 385 fleet.

Scottish transport minister Humza Yousaf said today’s announcement shows the government’s commitment to improving the rail network, with a full £5bn expected to be invested.

He commented: “This work contributes to the transformation of services across the central belt as part of the wider package of investment to enhance rail travel between the country’s two biggest cities, meaning passengers will see shorter journey times, increased capacity and better reliability.”

As well as electrification, the work – which covers nine stations on the route – includes platform reconstruction, renewals and enhancements to lighting.

There will also be new CCTV and customer information systems added as part of the wider upgrade programme.

Carillon Powerlines managing director Martin C Smith stated: “We are delighted to have been awarded this contract to electrify the Shotts line across central Scotland and we look forward to working with the project team to enhance the railway network.

“This award reflects the depth of experience we can demonstrate in delivering infrastructure enhancements in a railway environment and will further enhance the relationship we have developed with Network Rail.”

Two stations on the route, Livingston South and Breich, will be completely rebuilt and platforms extensions at Carfin, Shotts and West Calder will be completed to enable the introduction of longer trains on the route. The station section of the work is expected to be completed in Autumn 2018.

Iain McFarlane, route delivery director for Network Rail, said the contract was “another step forward” that showed the organisation’s commitment to Scottish electrification.

“Electrification of the line across North Lanarkshire and West Lothian coupled with improvements at stations will transform the journey experience for rail passengers who will enjoy the benefits of improved services for many years to come,” he said.

“Throughout this project we will work closely with contractors, train operators and other stakeholders to deliver in the most efficient and cost-effective way possible while minimising disruption for both lineside communities and passengers.”

The first electric trains to carry passengers on the route were sent between Edinburgh and Glasgow this weekend, although they were Class 380s rather than the Class 385 stock expected to make the journey in the future.

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Tom Bevan   13/12/2017 at 19:29

"The work is part of £160m of electrification upgrades to link Edinburgh and Glasgow – expected to be completed by March 2016." Presume 2016 might be a typo??

Neil Palmer   13/12/2017 at 21:19

I know they decided to keep Breich open, after it was suggested it be closed, but surely to completely rebuild the station can't possibly be justified. Raise or replace the footbridge, job done. If the platforms are too short, selective door opening.

Andrew Gwilt   14/12/2017 at 04:09

This is the same kind of electrification that is currently being installed and erected on the Hospel Oak-Barking Line and parts of the Chase Line in West Midlands. Plus the Midland Main Line towards Kettering and Corby north of Bedford is also to be electrified.

Simhedges   14/12/2017 at 08:10

So, work is due to start (so hasn't started yet), and yet "The first electric trains to carry passengers on the route were sent between Edinburgh and Glasgow this weekend" - please could we have a more coherently written article. Preferably by 2016.

Philip Phlopp   14/12/2017 at 08:52

"Electrification work to begin on Shotts line" That's simply incorrect - route clearance has been ongoing for two years now, piling work has been ongoing for a year or so, and mast/portal erection has been ongoing since August. This work is primarily about allowing the stations to accept the longer Class 385 rolling stock and bringing stations up to more modern standards to attract more passengers to the route.

PP   14/12/2017 at 09:06

@Neil - it's not so much platform length at Breich, it's height - the platforms are very low. I'm fit and healthy but getting on and off trains there is bit of a struggle. Keeping this station open and fully rebuilding it is an absolutely scandalous waste of public money. It was used 48 times last year - think about that for a second, it's less than one passenger a week. I would suspect the bulk of them were enthusiasts. The station is pretty much completely useless, and before anyone starts, it's highly unlikely many more people would use it even if all trains stopped there.

Neil Palmer   14/12/2017 at 23:31

PP Maybe they'll put a roof over it like Manchester Victoria, a nice big concourse, and a few shops. Seriously though, I bet they waste millions on the footbridge alone, withe lift, naturally.

Jeds   15/12/2017 at 16:17

Perhaps some clarification is needed. The Shotts line will be last of the four routes between Glasgow and Edinburgh to be electrified. The route via Carstairs was first, and the main user then was InterCity for ECML trains travelling on to Glasgow Central.

John Gilbert   16/12/2017 at 20:43

This is just excellent and a logical consequence of the total electrification of the central belt to complete the whole. A pity we blinkered English types cannot see that that is what is needed between Ashford and Hastings and to Uckfield, two lines which may not in themselves justify electrification but form part of a whole area - in fact the LAST such lines needing that treatment in SE England. In Scotland, let us now see the Glasgow link line added to the schemes. Also entirely logical !!!

Malc Nixon   06/02/2018 at 09:10

is this still going ahead now that carillion have shuffled off this weighty mortal coil...

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