Edinburgh to Glasgow railway line set to reopen

Falkirk district rail passengers will soon be able to travel between Edinburgh and Glasgow by train once again.

By Fiona Dobie
Thursday, 17th September 2020, 6:27 pm
The force of water from the breach in the Union Canal caused severe damage to the main Edinburgh to Glasgow railway line last month.
The force of water from the breach in the Union Canal caused severe damage to the main Edinburgh to Glasgow railway line last month.

Network Rail has announced that the main railway line between the two cities, passing through Falkirk, will re-open on Monday, September 21 after severe damage caused by a breach in the Union Canal last month stopped all services.

The news that services will resume on the line will be welcomed by passengers, who have experienced longer journeys on bus replacement services travelling between Falkirk and Edinburgh, and more recently between Falkirk and Linlithgow where a rail shuttle service was operating.

Engineers have been working around the clock to repair the line, which was partially washed away near Polmont, after the heavy rain on Wednesday, August 12.

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The line is set to open to passengers again from Monday.

Sections of the track were washed away, overhead lines damaged and the railway’s embankments were undermined along a 300 metre stretch of the line due to the force of thousands of gallons of water flowing from the breached canal.

Over the last six weeks, engineers have completely rebuilt the foundations of the line, replacing over 15,000 tonnes of soil and stone beneath the track.

A kilometre of new double-track railway has also been laid consisting of more than 4500 metres of new rails and 4424 concrete sleepers, along with 10,000 tonnes of new ballast requiring 27 engineering trains.

Over 3000 metres of signalling cables have been re-laid and two new twin track overhead power gantries installed.

Engineers have been working around the clock to rebuild sections of the track from their foundations.

Michael Matheson, Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity, said: “The scale of the challenge faced by those repairing the damage to this vital route was huge and that they have delivered this so promptly is testament to the hard work and dedication of staff across Scotland’s Railway.

“I’d like to thank everyone involved for enabling services to be restored for passengers sooner than first anticipated.

"I’d also like to thank rail users for their patience while this work was ongoing.

“It is clear that severe weather events will continue to have an impact on our transport networks in future years to come and that is why we are taking steps to add further resilience by making climate change mitigation a central theme of our National Transport Strategy.”

Liam Sumpter, Network Rail Scotland route director, said: “This line is a vital link between Scotland’s two biggest cities and our engineers and contractors have worked as quickly as possible to get our customers moving again on this key route.

“The damage caused by the floods on August 12 presented a massive challenge for our engineers who had to effectively rebuild a section of the line from the foundations up.

“I’d like to thank our customers for their understanding while we have been working to repair the line and we look forward to reopening the railway for them on Monday.”

Alex White, ScotRail Chief Operating Officer, said: “Network Rail’s engineers have done a terrific job in carrying out extensive repair work to the track and infrastructure, which will allow us to get trains on this vital route operating again from Monday.

“The unprecedented rainfall near Polmont last month had a severe impact on our ability to run services between Glasgow and Edinburgh, and we thank customers for their patience while repairs were carried out.”