Tuesday 1 Aug 2017
First mast up on Shotts Line electrification project
Network Rail has erected the first mast on the electrification of the Shotts line between Holytown Junction and Midcalder Junction.
The first steel work going up on the project marks the start of the next phase of the programme that will deliver 74km of electrified railway, as part of a wider £160m Scottish Government investment in the line between Scotland’s largest cities.
Work remains on target to deliver electrification of the railway network between Holytown and Midcalder junctions, which will complete the electrification of the ‘Shotts Line’ between Edinburgh and Glasgow by March 2019 and will create the fourth fully electrified line connecting the cities.
The electrification of the line has so far involved extensive vegetation clearance and piling for mast foundations and has been carried out in tandem with work on a range of bridges as part of a route clearance programme to ensure the overhead lines can run under structures on the route.
With bridge clearance work now only required at a few more structures, the electrification element of the project can progress on to erecting over 1200 masts before running the overhead powerlines. The first mast erected on the project was at Holytown Junction near Carfin on Sunday 30 July 2017
New electric trains will be introduced on services between Edinburgh and Glasgow Central via Shotts following completion of the work using the new Hitachi class 385 rolling stock and will deliver improved reliability and increased capacity for passengers.
Brian Mallon, programme manager for the Shotts Line Electrification said:
“This first mast going up is an important milestone in the delivery of the Shotts electrification project as people travelling on or living beside the railway will now start to see real, visual progress in the work to upgrade the line.
“Although we still have piled foundations to complete, the way we are working with our contractors Carillion Powerlines has enabled us to start putting the masts up at the same time to deliver in the most efficient and cost-effective way possible while minimising disruption for both lineside communities and passengers.
“The electrification of the Shotts Line is part of a rolling programme of work contributing 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 enjoy increased capacity and better reliability with an improved service on the line.”
About Network Rail
Network Rail owns, manages and develops Britain's railway - the 20,000 miles of track, 40,000 bridges and viaducts and the thousands of signals, level crossings and stations (the largest of which we also run). In partnership with train operators we help people take more than 1.65bn journeys by rail every year and move hundreds of millions of tonnes of freight, saving almost 8m lorry journeys. We employ 38,000 people across Britain and work round-the-clock, each and every day, to provide a safe, reliable railway.
About the Railway Upgrade Plan
The Railway Upgrade Plan is Network Rail's investment plan for Britain's railways. It makes up two-thirds of Network Rail's £40bn spending priorities for the five years to 2019 and represents the biggest sustained programme of rail modernisation since the Victoria era. It is designed to provide more capacity, relieve crowding and respond to the tremendous growth Britain's railways continue to experience; passenger numbers have doubled in the past 20 years and are set to double again over the next 25 years - so we need to continue to invest in building a bigger, better railway. For passengers, that means:
- longer, faster more frequent trains;
- better, more reliable infrastructure; and
- better facilities for passengers, especially at stations.