Edinburgh-to-Glasgow rail line to close for tunnel work

Scotrail train
Image caption The electrification work is aimed at cutting journey times

A section of the main rail line between Edinburgh and Glasgow will close for more than a month for upgrade work to a tunnel, it has been confirmed.

Network Rail expect to shut the Winchburgh Tunnel for about 44 days as part of electrification to the line.

The work would be carried out during summer months, with connections using other routes. The work is due to take place in 2015.

The revamp is aimed at cutting journey times across the central belt.

The Edinburgh Glasgow Improvement Programme (Egip) electrification of the main line between the two cities should be completed by the end of 2016.

However, it is not until the end of 2018 that a target journey time of 42 minutes is expected to be met, through a phased replacement of the diesel fleet.

Campaigners had raised fears the line could shut at the Winchburgh tunnel in West Lothian for 12 weeks.

A Transport Scotland spokesman said: "Network Rail have confirmed they expect the closure to last around 44 days - significantly less than the 12 week period reported, and will be carried out in the summer months with all rail connections maintained via diversionary routes.

"We will be working with our rail partners to bring the 44 day closure in further still and will keep passengers updated on progress.

"Delivering a major programme such as Edinburgh-Glasgow Improvement Project (Egip) in a live railway environment will always be a challenging undertaking. However, we are confident that working together Network Rail and First ScotRail will minimise passenger disruption across the network during the EGIP works."

The Edinburgh-Glasgow Improvement Programme will see train services between Glasgow and Edinburgh increase to 13 services per hour.

A Network Rail spokesman said: "Our current estimate is around 44 days, but we are in the process of considering the optimum delivery methodology.

"Once this process is complete we will finalise a delivery programme for this element of the Egip works."

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