Thursday 23 Nov 2006
NETWORK RAIL ONE STEP CLOSER TO DELIVERING AIRDRIE-BATHGATE RAILWAY
- Region & Route:
Scotland’s Railway: Scotland
The Scottish Parliament today gave its unanimous support to a Bill that proposes the construction of a new £300 million railway line between Airdrie and Bathgate. Network Rail, Promoter of the Bill, is celebrating cross-party endorsement of plans to re-open the 15-mile Airdrie-Bathgate passenger rail link after 50 years of closure and to upgrade existing links between Airdrie and Drumgelloch and Bathgate and Newbridge Junction.
Ron McAulay, Network Rail's Director, Scotland, said: “It is great news that today's debate went so well and that MSPs across the board are in favour of the Bill proceeding to the next stage. This means the Airdrie-Bathgate proposals have passed another significant milestone and that Network Rail, as Promoter of the Bill, is one step closer to delivering the new railway.
"The fact that the general principles of the Bill received strong support from all parties indicates a keen awareness of the economic and social benefits that the new line will bring to communities in Central Scotland. The occasion was hailed today in Parliament as 'a great day for the campaign to reopen the railway'; the proposals were cited as 'a core aspect of transport infrastructure plans' and an example of 'bringing the east and west of Scotland together in a very practical sense'. I couldn't agree more with all of these commendations.”
Now that the Bill has received Parliamentary support it will proceed to Consideration Stage, when all elements of the proposals will be examined in detail. This stage of the process sees the continuation of robust consultation and workshops with key stakeholders such as North Lanarkshire Council, West Lothian Council and the City of Edinburgh Council on issues related to the Bill. These include: bus integration; cycle path alignment; housing developments; the code of construction practice; and the noise and vibration policy.
If the Bill is passed, it is anticipated that services will be running on the new railway in 2010. This will bring passenger benefits including an increased number of services; shorter travel times; improved reliability of existing services; better access to employment, education and social opportunities and a reduction in passenger congestion. The environmental benefits include offering a public transport alternative to the M8 and reducing congestion.
Notes to editorsOn 14 November the Airdrie-Bathgate Railway and Linked Improvements Bill passed its first significant milestone when it was endorsed by the Parliamentary Committee responsible for scrutinising the proposals. The Bill Committee published its Preliminary Stage Report after taking considerable written and oral evidence; this endorsed the general principles of the Bill and recommended that it should proceed as a Private Bill
The oral evidence at Consideration Stage is scheduled to begin on 24 January 2007
Transport Scotland has committed funding for the project to a maximum of £299.7m
For further information on the Airdrie-Bathgate railway proposals see: http://www.airdriebathgateraillink.co.uk
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