THE Airdrie - Bathgate Railway & Linked Improvements Bill was introduced into the Scottish Parliament on May 30 by Network Rail. The objective is to restore a route between Glasgow and Edinburgh serving industrial areas in the Scottish Lowlands that last saw through passenger trains in the 1950s.

This is seen as a commuter route meeting local needs, as faster inter-city trains continue to operate every 15 min through Falkirk High. The bill provides powers to rebuild the 21 km abandoned section between Bathgate and Drumgelloch, where commuter services from the two cities currently terminate. Two intermediate stations will be opened on the abandoned section, and existing stations will be moved or upgraded.

The £300m project would also see other sections restored to double track, and the whole line electrified as a through route carrying EMUs at 15 min intervals. Catenary is currently missing between Drumgelloch and Haymarket station in Edinburgh. At present, only two tracks are wired between Haymarket and Edinburgh's principal Waverley station; this project would see all approach tracks and most platforms at Waverley electrified.

Transport Scotland, the government agency funding this project, is also looking at the possibility of electrifying the faster route through Falkirk High, if plans to divert this line to serve a through station below Edinburgh Airport come to fruition.

  • Scottish MPs have passed by a majority of 114 to 1 a bill granting powers to re-open the northern section of the Waverley route between Edinburgh and Carlisle that closed in the 1960s. Rebuilding the 47 km from Newcraighall in Edinburgh to Tweedbank with six intermediate stations would cost £155m.