Shotts Line

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Shotts Line
Shotts railway station, Lanarkshire (geograph 6176338).jpg
Shotts railway station following electrification
OwnerNetwork Rail
South Lanarkshire
North Lanarkshire
West Lothian Edinburgh
TerminiGlasgow Central
Edinburgh Waverley
SystemNational Rail
Operator(s)Abellio ScotRail
CrossCountry services pass but do not stop at intermediate stations.
Rolling stockClass 156; Class 158; Class 385
Track gauge1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in)
Electrification25 kV 50 Hz AC OHLE
Shotts Line
Glasgow Central
Eglinton Street
Uddingston Junction
Wishaw & Coltness Railway
to Wifflat & Coltness
West Calder Loop
West Calder
West Calder Loop
Livingston South
Midcalder Junction
Wester Hailes
Haymarket Edinburgh Trams
Edinburgh Princes Street
Edinburgh Waverley

The Shotts Line is a suburban railway line linking Glasgow Central and Edinburgh Waverley via Shotts in Scotland. It is one of the five rail links between the two cities.

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. The line's electrification was completed in early April 2019.

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 was reprieved.[1] Services were diverted from their original terminus at Edinburgh Princes Street to Haymarket and Edinburgh Waverley when Princes Street closed in September 1965.

The route from Glasgow to Shotts was part of the Strathclyde Partnership for Transport network until it was taken over by First ScotRail.

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 Crossrail Glasgow 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:


Network Rail completed an electrification project to electrify the entire line.[2] Prior to the completion of the electrification project, parts of the route were already electrified using the 25 kV overhead system. These were:-

The line follows the British Rail electrified West Coast Main Line as far as Uddingston Junction where it branches off to the east. Until Holytown Junction the line used by Argyle Line services. From Holytown the line continues through open countryside past Shotts and joins the Edinburgh Branch of the Caledonian Railway (part of the WCML) at Kirknewton. The central section between Holytown and Midcalder Junction was electrified by April 2019.[3][4][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.[5]

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. One late night service leaves Edinburgh and terminates at Motherwell


Some services operated by CrossCountry travel over the Shotts Line. Mostly these are empty coaching stock moves to/from Glasgow for driver route retention or passenger services diverted from their usual route via Carstairs due to engineering works or service disruption, but there is currently one service per week which is booked to travel over the line on Saturdays only (2105 Glasgow Central - Edinburgh). This service runs non-stop from Glasgow Central to Haymarket and does not serve any station on the Shotts Line.


Passenger services on the line are provided by AbellioScotRail Class 156s with the occasional Class 158s being timetabled on the line. From 23 April 2019, ScotRail began operating a limited number of new electric Class 385 trains on the line, with the majority of services still provided by the Class 156 and 158 trains.[6][7] The services via Carstairs are provided by Abellio 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. ^ a b "Shotts line electrification completed on time and on budget". Network Rail Media Centre. Retrieved 23 April 2019.
  3. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 19 October 2013. Retrieved 18 October 2013.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  4. ^ "First mast up on Shotts Line electrification project".
  5. ^[permanent dead link]
  6. ^ "The brand-new trains now making it electric on all five Edinburgh-Glasgow lines". Retrieved 23 April 2019.
  7. ^ @ScotRail (23 April 2019). "Brand new #Class385 Express trains have arrived on our Edinburgh - Glasgow Central via Shotts route. #Trainsformation" (Tweet) – via Twitter.