Shotts Line electrification goes live: A 25,000-strong workforce will work around the clock this holiday season.

Sunday 28 Oct 2018

Shotts Line electrification goes live

Region & Route:
Scotland’s Railway: Scotland

The public are being warned that overhead power cables on line from Holytown to Midcalder junction will be live from Sunday, November 4.

Electrification work on the line across North Lanarkshire and West Lothian will shortly enter its testing and safety validating process, which will enable the introduction of electric trains.

With the overhead wires carrying 25,000 volts of electricity, a campaign is underway to highlight the new dangers an electrified railway poses to those who trespass on the tracks or accidentally make contact with overhead lines.

Brian Mallon, Network Rail’s programme manager for Shotts Line electrification, said: “Energisation is an important phase of work to test and validate the new equipment and ensure it is operating as it should.  As well as ‘live testing’ the equipment, the energisation phase of the work is critical to ensuring the safe introduction of the electric trains that will operate on the route.

“Electrification also marks a significant change to the railway in terms of risk for those living or working nearby so it is important we do what we can to make people, particularly young people, aware of this change and encourage them to stay safe.

“Electric trains will be quieter and accelerate faster than the diesel ones they replace. The overhead power lines we have installed carry 25,000 volts of electricity – enough to kill anyone who comes into contact with them.”

As well as more than 10,000 safety leaflets being delivered through every door in lineside communities and messages online through social media, Network Rail is working with industry partners in schools and through local groups to take the safety message into the classroom and into the community. 

Network Rail is working in partnership with the British Transport Police, Scottish Football Association and local council education departments across the area to deliver the rail safety message in fun, interactive and engaging formats.

Additionally, a range of resources is available to highlight the changes in an electrified railway including Rail Life; an initiative aimed at young people which provides teachers and parents with a range of resources on rail safety issues. Further information can be found at Rail Safety Resources

The electrification of central Scotland’s railway is part of the Scottish Government’s investment to modernise and upgrade our railway infrastructure. It will enable:

  • The completion of the fifth electrified route between Scotland’s largest cities
  • Longer, faster and greener, modern electric trains
  • More seats on services between Glasgow and Edinburgh
  • Opportunity for faster journey times and additional services in the future


Notes to Editors

Notes to Editors

 The first part of the electrification of the Shotts line was in November 2017 with the second in April 2018 when the Holytown and Midcalder junctions respectively were ‘tied-in’ to existing electrification systems.

Across the 72stkm of the route, Network Rail has installed more than 1400 overhead structures to carry more than 144km of overhead line wire

Scotland Route

From 2014 and by March 2019, Network Rail will have electrified 325kms of central Scotland’s railway Network           

  • Glasgow – Cumbernauld
  • Edinburgh – Glasgow (via Falkirk High)
  • Grangemouth through Falkirk and Stirling to Alloa and Dunblane
  • Holytown – Midcalder jcts (Shotts line)

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