Glasgow–Edinburgh via Falkirk line

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Glasgow–Edinburgh via Falkirk line
Queen Street Station High level - - 268011.jpg
Glasgow Queen Street
TypeHeavy rail
SystemNational Rail
TerminiGlasgow Queen Street
Edinburgh Waverley
OwnerNetwork Rail
Operator(s)Abellio ScotRail
Rolling stockClass 385
Class 170
Class 158
Class 156
Track gauge4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge
Electrification25 kV 50 Hz AC
via Falkirk line
Glasgow Queen Street
(Glasgow Subway Buchanan Street)
Falkirk High
Edinburgh Trams
Edinburgh Waverley
(Edinburgh Trams St Andrew Square)

The Glasgow–Edinburgh via Falkirk line is a mainline railway line linking Glasgow and Edinburgh via Falkirk in Scotland. It is the principal route out of the five rail links between Scotland's two biggest cities, hosting the flagship "Shuttle" service between Glasgow Queen Street and Edinburgh Waverley. A typical service calls at Glasgow Queen Street, Croy, Falkirk High, Haymarket and Edinburgh or Glasgow Queen Street, Falkirk High, Polmont, Linlithgow, Haymarket and Edinburgh.


The route has historic significance as it was Scotland's first inter-city railway, opening on 2 February 1842 as the Edinburgh and Glasgow Railway.[1] It later became a key constituent of the North British Railway.[2]


The line was electrified in the 2010s. It was anticipated that electric Class 380 trains would start running from May 2017, followed by new Class 385 trains from September 2017. However, delays to the electrification project mean the 380s did not run until December 2017 and the 385s did not run until July 2018.

Places served[edit]

The route serves the following places (Ordnance Survey grid references for stations):

Places Grid references
Glasgow NS592655
Lenzie NS655719
Croy NS729755
Falkirk NS882790
Polmont NS930781
Linlithgow NT005770
Haymarket NT239731
Edinburgh NT257738


Passenger services are operated by Abellio ScotRail. The line is electrified. The "(Glasgow Queen Street-Edinburgh Haymarket) Shuttle" weekday day time service pattern sees a train every 15 minutes from Glasgow/Edinburgh. All trains stop at Falkirk High and Haymarket, with selected trains stopping at Croy, Polmont and Linlithgow.

The Sunday service sees a train every 30 minutes from Glasgow/Edinburgh with all trains calling at Falkirk High and Haymarket and a train every hour at Croy, Polmont and Linlithgow. However, both Linlithgow and Polmont also benefit from the Edinburgh–Dunblane line every half hour on a Sunday.

Rolling stock[edit]


As part of a review by the British Transport Commission report in 1952, the services were provided by the 1956 batch of Class 126 DMU, entering service in 1957.


In 1971, the stock provided changed to locomotives fitted for Blue Star multiple working. Initially a mixture of Class 25, Class 27 and Class 37 at each end of a rake of Mark 2 carriages through wired and piped to provide 90 mph (140 km/h) "push-pull" working. This very quickly settled down to a dedicated pool of Class 27 locomotives.


In 1980, the push-pull sets were replaced by single Class 47/7s at one end of a rake of Mark 3 carriages and a DBSO operating with TDM system. Also during this period, InterCity provided through services from Glasgow Queen Street to London King's Cross and various West Country destinations, resulting in the use of InterCity 125s on the route.

At this time, the service operated on a half-hourly frequency with all trains stopping at Haymarket and Falkirk High, with alternate trains stopping at Polmont and Linlithgow. Some peak hour trains stopped at Bishopbriggs, Lenzie and Croy. Sunday trains served Falkirk Grahamston.

In 1984 the Polmont rail accident, where a train hit a cow on the track (part of the cow's leg was trapped in the bogie of the train, lifting it off the track) resulted in 13 deaths and 61 injuries. It led to a debate about the safety of push-pull trains.[3]

In the late 1980s with the electrification of the Great Eastern Main Line by British Rail, the DBSO set-up was planned for replacement with Class 158 in four and six car formations, however due to delays in deliveries and the need to release the stock for the Great Eastern Main Line, Class 156 were used for a short period, prior to being put into use on the Far North Line.


Delivery of the Class 170s since 1999 has displaced the Class 158s for other duties, including the Far North Line. Other motive power can be seen as a result of operational considerations including Classes 156 and 158.

Present day[edit]

Since electrification of the line in 2017, trains are operated by, Class 385s from July 2018. Since October 2018 HSTs have been introduced on long distance services that use parts of the route.


  1. ^ Robertson(1983). Chapter 3, Section II: The essential link: Edinburgh to Glasgow, Pp 99-120.
  2. ^ Awdry (1990); Page 128.
  3. ^ Stead, Jean. "'Push pull' trains to be altered after death crash inquiry / Call for safer trains after derailment in Scotland". The Guardian, London. 22 February 1985.


  • Awdry, Christopher (1990). Encyclopaedia of British Railway Companies. Sparkford: Patrick Stephens Ltd. ISBN 1-8526-0049-7. OCLC 19514063. CN 8983.
  • Jowett, Alan (March 1989). Jowett's Railway Atlas of Great Britain and Ireland: From Pre-Grouping to the Present Day (1st ed.). Sparkford: Patrick Stephens Ltd. ISBN 978-1-85260-086-0. OCLC 22311137.
  • Robertson, C. J. A. (1983). The Origins of the Scottish Railway System: 1722-1844 (1st ed.). Edinburgh: John Donald Publishers Ltd. ISBN 0-8597-6088-X.
  • RAILSCOT on Edinburgh and Glasgow Railway
  • "National Rail Timetable; May 2010" (PDF). Retrieved 24 November 2010.
  • "National Rail Timetable; December 2010" (PDF). Retrieved 24 November 2010.

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