Tuesday 22 Jan 2008


Region & Route:
Scotland’s Railway: Scotland
Network Rail has started the process of Compulsory Purchase with the publication of a list of land which it intends to acquire to allow the construction and operation of the new Airdrie-Bathgate Rail Link. The 1,100 plots of land, in locations along the proposed route through North Lanarkshire, West Lothian, and the City of Edinburgh include a combination of permanent and temporary land possessions. All of the most significantly affected landowners have previously been contacted by Network Rail, however the company has now written to all land and property owners to present formal notices of the intention to purchase. The serving of pre-General Vesting Declaration (GVD) notices marks the start of the formal process seeking to transfer land ownership and rights in land along the route to Network Rail. Some properties have already been acquired through an Advance Purchase Scheme. It is anticipated that all the necessary land will be transferred to Network Rail by summer 2008 and construction work on the main section of the new line between Bathgate and Airdrie will begin in the autumn. Survey work along the route, essential for informing the detailed design for the railway, is already underway. Ron McAulay, Network Rail’s Director, Scotland commented: “As part of the Airdrie-Bathgate Railway and Linked Improvements Act, which was unanimously passed by the Scottish Parliament last year, we must publish the full list of plots of land that we intend to buy through the compulsory purchase powers at our disposal. “In the cases of the most seriously affected land owners, we have been in regular contact over the last few years and explained the need to purchase their land. “This stage of the project can be difficult for the individuals and communities affected but we have done everything we can to keep them informed about the new rail line and explain the compulsory purchase process. It brings us another step closer to re-establishing a rail link through North Lanarkshire and West Lothian “ Four community meetings have been arranged by Network Rail to help explain the compulsory purchase scheme and help answer related questions: Monday 21 January, 6.30-8.30pm: Plains Community Hall, Main Street, Plains Wednesday 23 January, 4-8pm: Gartlea Community Centre, Hillfoot Road, Airdrie Tuesday 29 January, 4-8pm: The Fairway Hotel, Edinburgh Road, Bathgate Thursday 31 January, 6.30-8.30pm: St Mary’s Primary School, Elswick Drive, Caldercruix
Advanced work for the new rail link began in June 2007 with work taking place along the Bathgate branch line, including extensive track replacement, soil excavation and the removal and replacement of five bridges. ENDS

Notes to editors

The Airdrie-Bathgate Rail Link is a £300 million project funded by Transport Scotland which will re-establish a rail link and provide passenger transport services through central Scotland. The line will connect local communities not currently served by public transport to Edinburgh in the east and Glasgow in the west. This will provide access to important employment, education, health and leisure opportunities as well as promoting a sustainable transport alternative. The Airdrie-Bathgate Railway and Linked Improvements Act 2007 received Royal Assent in May 2007 following the Scottish Parliament's unanimous cross-party support for the project.

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

About Network Rail

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.

Usually, there are almost five million journeys made in the UK and over 600 freight trains run on the network. People depend on Britain's railway for their daily commute, to visit friends and loved ones and to get them home safe every day. Our role is to deliver a safe and reliable railway, so we carefully manage and deliver thousands of projects every year that form part of the multi-billion pound Railway Upgrade Plan, to grow and expand the nation's railway network to respond to the tremendous growth and demand the railway has experienced - a doubling of passenger journeys over the past 20 years.

Follow us on Twitter: @networkrail
Visit our online newsroom: www.networkrailmediacentre.co.uk