Winchburgh rail tunnel works are on track

ScotRail Alliance managing director Phil Verster and transport minister Derek McKay at the entrance to Winchburgh tunnel
ScotRail Alliance managing director Phil Verster and transport minister Derek McKay at the entrance to Winchburgh tunnel

Work to renovate the Winchburgh rail tunnel in West Lothian has reached its half-way point and is on track to reopen to traffic by the end of the month.

The closure of the tunnel has meant direct services from Falkirk High to Edinburgh have been temporarily suspended, with passengers using the district’s busiest station forced to change at Linlithgow before continuing their journey to the capital.

Transport minister Derek McKay and ScotRail Alliance managing director Phil Verster visited the site on Monday to view the project’s progress.

On-time and on-budget, works so far completed include the lowering of the trackbed and installation of over 470m of new slab-track on the line to Edinburgh and preparatory works on the line to Glasgow for the installation of the concrete base for the slab-track formation.

The tunnel works are being carried out as part of the wider Edinburgh-Glasgow Improvement Programme which will ultimately lead to faster journey times on the main line.

Mr Verster said: “This is an incredibly complex piece of engineering work that will help deliver significant benefits to our customers in the future.

“Once we complete the electrification of the main line between Edinburgh and Glasgow we will be able to run faster, longer, greener trains that will cut journey times and make available more seats on this hugely important route.”

Mr McKay said: “This week we reached the landmark of having more than 50 per cent of the new track laid.”