Tuesday 18 Mar 2008


Region & Route:
Scotland’s Railway: Scotland

An £8m improvement programme will be kicking off on the West Highland line in a few weeks as Network Rail seeks to improve the reliability of the services on this important rail artery.

The programme includes the refurbishment of three key viaducts, laying new track, clearing vegetation and major earthworks.

Working closely with train operators to avoid the peak tourist season, and to deliver the improvements as quickly and efficiently as possible, the programme will require the closure of sections of the line for short periods between late March and early May.

The first closure will be between Saturday March 29 and Sunday April 13 as Network Rail engineers undertake earthwork, rock stabilisation and vegetation projects at various sites between Fort William and Mallaig.

A week-long closure of the line between Crianlarich and Oban will follow between Saturday, April 19 and Sunday, April 27. The line will also be closed between Craigendoran and Crianlarich from Saturday, April 19, to Wednesday, April 23, and from Saturday April 26 to Wednesday April 30.

During these closures Network Rail engineers will carry out steelwork and masonry repairs, timber replacement and waterproofing works and painting worth £1.3m at Manse viaduct and £3.6m at Glen Falloch viaduct. They will also begin a £1.6m project to strengthen and paint Glen Fillan viaduct.

Two further weekend closures will take place between Crianlarich and Corrour on Saturday, April 26, and Sunday, April 27, and between Glen Douglas and Crianlarich on Saturday, May 3, and Sunday, May 4.

Replacement bus services will be provided during the closures. Network Rail is working closely with First ScotRail to minimise disruption for passengers.

David Simpson, Network Rail Route Director for Scotland, said: "This investment programme is essential to ensure the continued running of a reliable rail network in the Highlands.

"Closing the line at these times will allow us to complete all of this work quickly and efficiently and mean that it causes the minimum of disruption to the peak season."

Steve Montgomery, First ScotRail's Operations and Safety Director, added: "These works will involve a number of replacement buses. We have done everything possible to keep inconvenience to an absolute minimum. Clearly, some journeys will take longer than normal and passengers should allow more time for travel."

Travel information will also be available from national Rail Enquiries on 0845 7484950 / http://www.nationalrail.co.uk

Notes to editors

Additional First ScotRail service information Friday 28 March The 20.20 Crianlarich to Mallaig service will terminate at Fort William, with forward bus replacement service to Mallaig. Saturday 29 March - Sunday 13 April A replacement bus service will operate between Fort William and Mallaig, calling at all stations. Saturday 19 April and Sunday 20 April Buses will replace trains between Glasgow Queen Street and Oban, Fort William and Tulloch and Mallaig. Rannoch station will be closed during the engineering works. Sunday, 20 April There will be a replacement bus service between Fort William and Aviemore for Caledonian Sleeper customers to connect into the Inverness to London Euston Sleeper service. Monday 21 April – Tuesday 22 April Buses will replace trains between Glasgow Queen Street and Oban, Fort William and Mallaig. Travel information will also be available from national Rail Enquiries on 0845 7484950 http://www.nationalrail.co.uk

Contact information

Passengers / community members
Network Rail national helpline
03457 11 41 41

Latest travel advice
Please visit National Rail Enquiries

Network Rail press office - Scotland
0141 555 4109

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We own, operate and develop Britain's railway infrastructure; that's 20,000 miles of track, 30,000 bridges, tunnels and viaducts and the thousands of signals, level crossings and stations. We run 20 of the UK's largest stations while all the others, over 2,500, are run by the country's train operating companies.

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