Friday 9 Dec 2005


Region & Route:
Scotland’s Railway: Scotland
The first reopening of a major branch railway line in Scotland for 25 years was carried out by First Minister, Rt. Hon. Jack McConnell MSP, earlier today (Friday, December 9th, 2005). Connecting Larkhall to Glasgow Central via Hamilton Central, the line is part of the £35 million Larkhall to Milngavie project which connects rail traffic between Larkhall and Dalmuir and a new service from Queen Street to Anniesland via Maryhill. The project includes:
  • 4.7km of new railway from Larkhall to Hamilton
  • New stations at Larkhall, Merryton and Chatelherault
  • 1.6 km of new railway from Maryhill to Anniesland (opened on Sept. 28th, 2005)
  • A new station at Kelvindale plus an additional platform at Anniesland (opened on Sept. 28th, 2005)
The new Larkhall branch line is electrified and trains will run every 30 minutes to Glasgow city centre. Funded by the Scottish Executive and Strathclyde Passenger Transport (SPT) with support from South Lanarkshire Council, the project represents the largest rail enhancement project in Scotland for more than 25 years. SPT expect some 1.5 million new passengers across the network every year as a result of the new infrastructure and re-structured rail services. Councillor Alistair Watson, Chair of SPT, is delighted the project was delivered on time and on budget. Joining the First Minister in formally opening the line he said: “SPT is proud that after years of hard work we have delivered, on time and on budget, the first railway line with stations in Scotland since the Argyle line was opened in 1979 – another SPT led project. Only through SPT’s ability to deliver large-scale regional projects has this been possible. “As well as Larkhall re-joining the rail network, today’s official opening sees the start of a host of improvements including an increase from 12 to 14 trains per hour between the city centre and Partick, 71 trains a day between Larkhall and the city centre and an extra two services per hour between Milngavie and Glasgow in the off-peak.” Aidan O’Donnell, Director General of SPT said: “The reopening of the Larkhall Line and the construction of the new stations is yet another example of the ability of SPT to deliver a project which will bring benefits to rail passengers in the west of Scotland. It is also an example of SPT’s ability to work alongside industry partners, the Scottish Executive and local government in improving both transport infrastructure and service provision.” Project development and implementation was managed by Network Rail with construction by Carillion Rail. All train services on the new line will be operated by First Scotrail. Provost Mushtaq Ahmad of South Lanarkshire Council welcomed the re-opening of the branch line saying: “South Lanarkshire Council campaigned for many years to get this project up and running and I am delighted to have been part of the effort that has brought us to this point. We recognise the crucial role this rail line has to play in ensuring the wellbeing and prosperity of the town. "The link goes hand-in-hand with the Council's own aims for the on-going regeneration of Larkhall and I believe we can capitalise on this project to bring about a period of economic investment and growth that will benefit all who live in the area." Mary Dickson, Managing Director of First ScotRail said: “First ScotRail is delighted this line has opened, which marks a new era for Scotland's railway. It demonstrates the commitment and strength of industry partnerships in achieving significant improvements to the railway in Scotland. The line will provide a convenient, affordable and direct transport link to the city centre and beyond and I am confident it will be a great success.” Ron McAulay, Director, Scotland, Network Rail said: “We are delighted to have delivered this new major rail route, and we look forward to operating it for the benefit of passengers traveling to and from Larkhall. This is a further step towards establishing rail as the key public transport in the 21st century – a prime objective for Network Rail and the Scottish Executive.”

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