Monday 4 Sep 2006


Region & Route:
Scotland’s Railway: Scotland
The Airdrie-Bathgate Railway & Linked Improvements Bill is entering the next stage of the Parliamentary process with project promoter Network Rail set to give evidence to the Bill Committee on 4, 11, 18 and 25 September 2006. The £300 million proposals, fully funded by Transport Scotland, would allow a new railway line between Airdrie and Bathgate, including two new stations at Armadale and Caldercruix, two relocated stations at Bathgate and Drumgelloch, and three upgraded stations at Livingston North, Uphall and Airdrie. This will bring considerable benefits to local people by linking communities along the route; increasing the number of services; improving the reliability of existing services; providing safe and comfortable waiting areas, enhanced park-and-ride options, and easy access with all stations Disability Discrimination Act-compliant. Ron McAulay, Network Rail Director, Scotland, said: “We are looking forward to giving oral evidence to the Bill Committee. It is our chance to explain in person how the new Airdrie-Bathgate rail link will open up opportunities for communities in North Lanarkshire and West Lothian, giving residents a real public transport choice. With Parliamentary support, thousands more people each week can commute to work, school or college, go shopping and visit friends – without using cars. “Not only will there be four more trains per hour in each direction between Glasgow and Edinburgh – with a minimum target line speed of 80 miles per hour through an electrified route – existing services will see improved reliability with double tracking works from Bathgate to Newbridge. In a nutshell, it will bring shorter travel times and more services to those in need along the route.” The Bill, which was introduced to the Scottish Parliament in May 2006, is now at Preliminary Stage where the Committee will consider the general principles, the admissibility of any objections lodged, and whether it should proceed as a Private Bill. This follows the written submissions which showed clear support for the Bill. In terms of objections, 77 were lodged, with very specific concerns over stations at Blackridge and Plains, car parking at Airdrie, the proposed new cycle route and integration with other modes of transport. The oral evidence sessions will cover key themes such as: the need for the railway; how this fits within local, regional and national transport plans; economic development and social regeneration; advance purchase schemes; environmental impact; route options and choice of stations; accessibility and integration with other modes of public transport; patronage forecasting; project costs and risk management; consultation; notification; and land acquisition, compensation and permitted development. The Bill Committee will examine the general principles and detailed plans of the Bill in advance of making a recommendation to the Scottish Parliament. It is anticipated that the Bill will be passed through the Parlimentary process around spring 2007. Providing it is successfully passed by a vote of the Parliament, Royal Assent will be granted and the works will get underway during 2007 and 2008. The first trains could be running by December 2010.

Notes to editors

1. The Scottish Executive’s Central Scotland Transport Corridor Study 2003 (CSTCS) identified the reinstatement of a double track railway between Airdrie and Bathgate as a key infrastructure enhancement for public transport and road improvements for communities served by the A8 and M8. 2. The detailed routing and engineering feasibility of the rail link was assessed in an Initial Technical Feasibility Study report (ITFS) in June 2004. This was supported by the Scottish Executive, West Lothian Council, North Lanarkshire Council and Strathclyde Passenger Transport. 3. Witnesses giving oral evidence over the four sessions include Network Rail as promoter; West Lothian and Lanarkshire chambers of commerce; Scottish Enterprise Lanarkshire, Edinburgh & Lothian and Glasgow; North Lanarkshire Council; West Lothian Council; the Minister for Transport and Transport Scotland officials; SUSTRANS; TRANSform Scotland; Blackridge Community Council; Platform Blackridge; Mary Mulligan MSP and Karen Whitefield MSP; SESTRANS; Confederation of Passenger Transport; Passenger Focus; Scottish Association for Public Transport; First ScotRail; Strathclyde Passenger Transport; Registers of Scotland; objectors; Royal Mail; SEPA and SNH. 4. More information on the rail link can be found at 5. Network Rail is the ‘not for dividend’ owner and operator of Britain’s railway infrastructure which includes the tracks, signals, tunnels, bridges, viaducts, level crossings and stations – the largest of which we also manage. 6. We are working to rebuild Britain’s railway and provide a safe, reliable and efficient rail infrastructure for freight and passenger trains to use. 7. Our website:

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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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