Glasgow-Edinburgh Line

(Edinburgh and Glasgow Railway)

Waverley Station
©2022 Gazetteer for Scotland

Waverley Station

The principal railway connection between Scotland's largest cities is the Glasgow-Edinburgh Line, which is routed via Falkirk. This is the most heavily-used of the five routes that provide a direct connection between the cities, and the line providing the fastest service. Running across the Midland Valley of Scotland, it links Waverley Station in Edinburgh with Glasgow Queen Street, with intermediate stations at Haymarket, Linlithgow, Polmont, Falkirk High and Croy. The line also connects Lenzie and Bishopbriggs, although Glasgow-Edinburgh trains never stop at these stations.

The line formally opened on 19th February 1842 as the Edinburgh and Glasgow Railway and was Scotland's first inter-city railway. Initially the line only operated to Haymarket station, with the extension to Waverley coming two years later. Major structures along the route include the Winchburgh Tunnel, Almond Valley Viaduct, Avon Viaduct, Castlecary Viaduct, Cowlairs Tunnel and the Hallglen Railway Tunnel. Between the opening of the line and 1908, trains had to be hauled from Queen Street Station up the Cowlairs Incline using a cable.

The line was taken over by the North British Railway Company in 1865, then merged into the London and North Eastern Railway in 1923. Diesel locomotion replaced steam in 1957.

Now managed by Network Rail, the line is used by ScotRail to provide a shuttle service every 15 minutes, with 204 trains on an average weekday. The best journey time for the 47¼-mile (76-km) route is 42 minutes based on peak-time limited stop services. Typical journey times are fifty minutes, with trains running every fifteen minutes. The Edinburgh-Glasgow Improvement Programme of 2013-19 brought electrification, a 30% increase in capacity (achieved through longer trains) and reduced journey times by around 20%. The cost of the programme was £742 million although this included numerous improvements to associated stations, lines and facilities such as the Millerhill Marshalling Yard, the eastern cleaning and servicing depot for the new electric trains, with maintenance provided at Craigentinny Depot. Eastfield Depot provides stabling facilities in Glasgow.

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