Deadly danger of new ‘live’ threat on main Edinburgh - Glasgow line

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Network Rail is warning of the lethal dangers posed by overhead power cables as the main Edinburgh-Glasgow line goes live from today (Saturday).

Reckless trespassers - and anyone accidentally contacting overhead lines - will be risking their lives.

The public are being told bluntly: “The overhead power lines we have installed carry 25,000 volts of electricity – enough to kill anyone who comes into contact with them.”

The testing newly begun on the line via Falkirk High aims to enable the launch of new electric trains later this year.

Network Rail, with responsibility for safety on and around the railway, is working in partnership with British Transport Police, the Scottish Football Association and education departments across six local authority areas to highlight the danger.

Meanwhile more than 100,000 safety leaflets are being delivered through every door in lineside communities, and the warning is also being promoted on social media.

Kevin McClelland, route delivery director for Infrastructure projects, 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 work is critical to ensuring the safe introduction of the electric trains that will operate on the route from later in the year.

“Electrification also marks a significant change to the railway environment in terms of risk for those living or working near to the newly electrified routes.

“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 near the railway.”

He added: “Electric trains will be quieter and accelerate faster than diesel ones they replace.”

Network Rail has also launched a Rail Life initiative aimed at young people, which provides teachers and parents with a range of resources on rail safety issues.

The electrification of 46 miles of railway between Edinburgh and Glasgow marks an important milestone in the delivery of the overall Edinburgh Glasgow Improvement Programme (EGIP).

It is promised set to deliver a 20 per cent reduction in journey times while adding 30 per cent more capacity on “comfortable, efficient and more reliable electric trains”.