First mast up on Shotts Line electrification project

Network Rail has erected the first mast on the electrification of the Shotts line between Holytown Junction and Midcalder Junction.

The first steel work going up on the project marks the start of the next phase of the programme that will deliver 74km of electrified railway, as part of a wider £160m Scottish Government investment in the line between Scotland’s largest cities.

Work remains on target to deliver electrification of the railway network between Holytown and Midcalder junctions, which will complete the electrification of the ‘Shotts Line’ between Edinburgh and Glasgow by March 2019 and will create the fourth fully electrified line connecting the cities.

The electrification of the line has so far  involved extensive vegetation clearance and piling for mast foundations and has been carried out in tandem with work on a range of bridges as part of a route clearance programme to ensure the overhead lines can run under structures on the route.

With bridge clearance work now only required at a few more structures, the electrification element of the project can progress on to erecting over 1200 masts before running the overhead powerlines. The first mast erected on the project was at Holytown Junction near Carfin on Sunday 30 July 2017

New electric trains will be introduced on services between Edinburgh and Glasgow Central via Shotts following completion of the work using the new Hitachi class 385 rolling stock and will deliver improved reliability and increased capacity for passengers.

Brian Mallon, programme manager for the Shotts Line Electrification said:

“This first mast going up is an important milestone in the delivery of the Shotts electrification project as people travelling on or living beside the railway will now start to see real, visual progress in the work to upgrade the line.

“Although we still have piled foundations to complete, the way we are working with our contractors Carillion Powerlines has enabled us to start putting the masts up at the same time to deliver in the most efficient and cost-effective way possible while minimising disruption for both lineside communities and passengers.

“The electrification of the Shotts Line is part of a rolling programme of work contributing to the transformation of services across the central belt as part of the wider package of investment to enhance rail travel between the country’s two biggest cities, meaning passengers will enjoy increased capacity and better reliability with an improved service on the line.”