Tuesday 30 May 2006


Region & Route:
Scotland’s Railway: Scotland
A Bill to allow a new £300 million railway line between Airdrie and Bathgate is to be published in the Scottish Parliament on Wednesday 31 May by Network Rail, project promoter. The proposals, which are fully funded by Transport Scotland, will mean an extra four passenger services – in both directions – each hour between Glasgow and Edinburgh, travelling at speeds of up to 80 miles per hour. The plans also include two new stations at Armadale and Caldercruix, two relocated stations at Bathgate and Drumgelloch, and three upgraded stations at Livingston North, Uphall and Airdrie. Ron McAulay, Network Rail Director, Scotland, said: “Over the coming years Network Rail will deliver several strategic railway investments in Scotland, Airdrie-Bathgate being one of the most ambitious. The level of funding that Transport Scotland has committed to major enhancements reflects the growing demands on our railway. As owner, operator and maintainer of the UK’s railway infrastructure, Network Rail is the obvious choice for leading the development of these major projects. We look forward to continued partnership with Transport Scotland and to delivering more enhancements to the network.” The new Airdrie-Bathgate rail link will provide easy and reliable travel for people living in West Lothian and North Lanarkshire. This means thousands more people each week can commute to work, school or college, go shopping and visit friends – without using cars. Not only will this help to reduce traffic congestion and pollution on the M8, but it will also relieve passenger congestion on the existing Edinburgh-Glasgow rail shuttle service. The railway line reopening also means that for the first time in 50 years passengers will be able to travel direct to Edinburgh from the Airdrie/Coatbridge area without doubling back through Glasgow. Transport Minister Tavish Scott said: “This devolved government set out its commitment to build new rail lines across the country, and the publication of Airdrie-Bathgate Bill today meets the last of those commitments. “Through Network Rail’s promotion of this Bill, working alongside our transport agency Transport Scotland, communities in North Lanarkshire and West Lothian will now have a real public transport choice. "Rail is a transport option for many more passengers as our capital programme moves from planning, through construction to delivery." Additional benefits include: improved reliability of existing services with double tracking works from Bathgate to Newbridge; upgraded stations, compliant with the Disability Discrimination Act; park and ride facilities at key stops between Airdrie and Uphall; and a new, relocated cycle track. The introduction of the Bill follows detailed studies and extensive consultation with local authorities and local communities. There will now be a 60 day formal consultation period before the Parliamentary Committee examines 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 Committee process by 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. During 2002-2003, the Scottish Executive’s Central Scotland Transport Corridor Study (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 by the project’s consultants, Jacobs Babtie, in an Initial Technical Feasibility Study report (ITFS), completed in June 2004. This was supported by the Scottish Executive, West Lothian Council, North Lanarkshire Council and Strathclyde Passenger Transport 3. More information on the rail link can be found at www.airdriebathgateraillink.co.uk

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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.

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.

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