Shotts Line

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Shotts Line
Shotts railway station in 2006.jpg
System National Rail

South Lanarkshire
North Lanarkshire
West Lothian

Termini Glasgow Central
Edinburgh Waverley
Owner Network Rail
Operator(s) First ScotRail CrossCountry
Rolling stock Class 156; Class 158
Track gauge 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in)
Shotts Line
Glasgow Central
(GlasgowSubway logo notext.PNG St Enoch)
West Calder
Livingston South
Wester Hailes
Edinburgh Waverley

The Shotts Line is a suburban railway line linking Glasgow Central and Edinburgh Waverley via Shotts in Scotland. The route from Glasgow to Shotts is part of the Strathclyde Partnership for Transport network. Between Glasgow Central and Uddingston, the line is shared with the West Coast Main Line (WCML), before branching off towards Bellshill, rejoining the Edinburgh branch of the WCML at Midcalder Junction.

Glasgow to Edinburgh services[edit]

The Shotts line does not carry the principal service between the cities, with the journey taking around half as long again as the fast and frequent Glasgow Queen Street-Edinburgh service via Falkirk, which is the premier commuter link between the two cities.

History of route[edit]

The majority of the route follows ex-Caledonian Railway metals, with the North British Railway at the Edinburgh end.

The line was threatened with closure in the Beeching Report of 1963, but subsequently reprieved.[1] Services were however diverted from their original terminus at Edinburgh Princes Street to Haymarket & Edinburgh Waverley when Princes Street closed in September 1965.

Transport studies[edit]

In 2002, the Scottish Association Public Transport (SAPT) published a report suggesting that electrification of the Shotts Line would open up the Glasgow suburban electric network to Edinburgh and beyond, principally linking the capital to the Glasgow Airport Rail Link (now cancelled). This has been proposed as an alternative to the Glasgow Crossrail scheme, since it would not depend on the heavily used North Clyde Line, and would also provide a more direct electric link between Edinburgh and Glasgow without using the longer route via the WCML through Carstairs Junction.


The Shotts line serves the following stations:


Parts of the route are electrified using the 25 kV overhead system. These are:-

The line follows the electrified West Coast Main Line as far as Uddingston Junction where it branches off to the east. Until Holytown Junction the line is electrified and also used by Argyle Line services. From Holytown the un-electrified line continues through open countryside past Shotts and joins the electrified Edinburgh Branch of the Caledonian Railway (part of the WCML) at Kirknewton. The central section between Holytown and Midcalder Junction is due to be electrified by 2019.[2]

Train services[edit]

Prior to December 2009[edit]

A Monday to Saturday hourly service was operated on the line, calling at all stops between Glasgow Central and Edinburgh Waverley. The exceptions to this rule were: Briech which was a request stop at peak hours only, the two trains a day in either direction that travelled via Carstairs and the single afternoon service from Edinburgh via Shotts that terminated at Motherwell.

On Sundays only, a two hourly service was provided between Edinburgh and West Calder. There were no services between Addiewell and Bellshill on a Sunday.

December 2009 to December 2012[edit]

While the original timetabled services on the route continue, albeit slightly altered, they have been supplemented by a new limited stop express passenger service. This new service operates in the gaps in the original timetable, making the route frequency now twice hourly.

The new service calls at Glasgow Central, Bellshill, Shotts, West Calder, Livingston South, Haymarket and Edinburgh Waverley only. It will see an end-to-end reduction in journey time of 33 minutes. The journey takes 65 minutes.[3]

As of December 2009, the Shotts Line no longer serves Cambuslang, except during peak times.

December 2012 onwards[edit]

In the December 2012 timetable, the two hourly Sunday service that previously served Edinburgh - West Calder only has been extended the full length of the Shotts line. Giving stations between West Calder and Bellshill a Sunday service.


CrossCountry also use this line for Empty stock moves or when services are diverted not to call at Motherwell, There is 1 service per day that uses this line, (2105 Glasgow-Edinburgh S only)


Passenger services on the line are provided by First ScotRail Class 156s with the occasional Class 158s being timetabled on the line. The services via Carstairs are provided by First ScotRail Class 380s.

Freight services along the line are generally hauled using Class 66 traction, though on occasion other types may be used.


  1. ^ Addiewell and RailwaysAddiewell Heritage; Retrieved 2014-01-24
  2. ^
  3. ^