Edinburgh–Bathgate line

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Edinburgh–Bathgate line
System National Rail
Locale Edinburgh
Owner Network Rail
Track gauge 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm)
Bathgate Line
North Clyde Line
Bathgate (1986)
Bathgate (2010)
Livingston North
Edinburgh Park Edinburgh Trams
Haymarket Edinburgh Trams
Edinburgh Waverley Edinburgh Trams

The Edinburgh–Bathgate line is a railway line in East Central Scotland. It is also known as the Bathgate branch and was originally operated by the Edinburgh and Bathgate Railway.


Having only carried freight traffic to and from Bathgate (mainly automotive traffic) since passenger services ceased over the line in 1956, the line was reopened to passenger services in March 1986 by British Rail. Lothian Regional Council provided substantial funding toward the project, which was intended to help ease commuting difficulties to and from Edinburgh as road congestion worsened in the mid 1980s, and to alleviate some of the hardship caused by West Lothian's industrial decline. (Since passenger services had ceased in 1956, the remaining shale oil industry became extinct, coal mining was virtually ended by 1986, and the Bathgate plant of British Leyland was slated for closure.)

Economies were made in the project delivery - specifically three miles of railway were removed and between Cawburn Jn and Carmondean Jn, a single line was provided, serving Uphall railway station and Livingston North railway station. The passenger line continued to the terminus at Bathgate while a freight only line (the former Down line) ran between Carmondean Jn and Bathgate yard.

The line succeeded in respect of patronage; usage was well above predictions and over the years, Sunday trains were introduced, and the basic weekday service doubled from hourly to every thirty minutes each way.

From the lines reopening in 1986 by British Rail until electrification, passenger train services were operated by diesel multiple units (at first mainly Class 101s, then from 1987 mainly Class 150s and then (2008-9) Class 158 or Class 170s.)

Following completion of the Airdrie–Bathgate rail link and electrification of the route resulting in the incorporation of the service into the North Clyde Line timetable, services has been operated by Class 334 electric multiple units. Delay in the delivery and commissioning of the Class 380 resulted in diesel services operating initially between Edinburgh and Bathgate. In 2011, a half-hourly service between Edinburgh Waverley and Helensburgh Central was introduced.[1]

Extension to Airdrie and Glasgow[edit]

In 2005, the Scottish Executive declared that in line with plans to upgrade the unfinished part of the A8 to motorway standard, public transport links between Glasgow and Edinburgh must also be improved.

The closed section of the Bathgate and Coatbridge Railway between the 1989 Drumgelloch station and Bathgate was rebuilt and electrified, connecting with the North Clyde Line at Drumgelloch. This opened up an important fourth railway link between Glasgow and Edinburgh, giving many towns in West Lothian better connections to the Greater Glasgow conurbation.

From 12 December 2010, the Edinburgh to Bathgate service was absorbed into the North Clyde Line with services from Helensburgh Central and Milngavie via Airdrie.[2] All work on the extension was completed by 8 March 2011.[3]