Airdrie-Bathgate Railway

(Airdrie-Bathgate Link)

The Airdrie-Bathgate Railway began operations in 2010, following the route of the former Bathgate and Coatbridge Railway, which had closed to passengers in 1956, to freight in 1982 and been re-used as a cycleway. The line is double-track, electrified and the project cost £300 million. Extending to 13½ miles / 21.6 km, this provided the final section of a fifth link between Glasgow and Edinburgh, serving towns and villages in North Lanarkshire and West Lothian. A report to government had identified the reinstatement of the railway between Airdrie and Bathgate as a key infrastructure enhancement for Central Scotland, helping to reduce congestion and pollution from vehicles along the M8 Motorway corridor. The Airdrie-Bathgate Rail Link was officially opened on 8th March 2011 by Scottish Transport Minister Keith Brown (b.1961).

In 1989, the North Clyde Line had been extended as a single-track from Airdrie to a new terminus at Drumgelloch, 1¼ miles / 2 km to the east. A second track was added and a new Drumgelloch Railway Station was built slightly further to the east in 2010 to service the Airdrie-Bathgate Link. The other stations are at Caldercruix, Blackridge, Armadale and Bathgate, where the station was also repositioned to better serve the new line. The station at Blackridge was not in the original place but was built following a vigorous campaign by the local community. As part of the project, the single-track section of the Edinburgh-Bathgate Railway was doubled. Electric trains now run from Helensburgh and Milngavie through Glasgow Queen Street (Low Level) to Bathgate and Edinburgh, on a combination of railways now grouped as the North Clyde Line.

The Bathgate and Coatbridge Railway opened on 11th August 1862, primarily to serve the iron and steel works of the Monklands, and became part of the North British Railway three years later. Originally it was not connected to the Edinburgh-Bathgate Railway and passengers faced a walk between Bathgate Upper and Lower Stations, although the connection was eventually built in 1894. The Airdrie-Bathgate line was laid as a single-track, but was doubled in 1904 and reduced to a single track once again in 1979, three years before its closure. Stations at Plains, Forrestfield and Westcraigs were not re-opened.

The lines reaches its highest point of 200m / 656 feet above sea level at Holmes Summit.

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