Disruption likely as Edinburgh-Glasgow rail tunnel work begins

tunnel work
Image caption Work on the Winchburgh tunnel will hit the Edinburgh-Glasgow rail line for six weeks

Work on the main Edinburgh to Glasgow railway line gets under way this weekend with passengers expected to face significant disruption.

The Winchburgh tunnel near Linlithgow in West Lothian will be closed for six weeks to allow upgrades to be carried out.

The work is part of a £750m project to enable faster, bigger and greener electric trains to run on the line.

Train operator ScotRail has a dedicated website to advise on the disruption.

It will mainly hit travel between Glasgow - or Stirling/Dunblane - and Edinburgh but it will also have a knock-on effect in areas such as the Fife Circle.

Many passengers will have longer journeys or bus replacements. ScotRail advised passengers to add at least 30 minutes to their planned journey times.

The closure will mean passengers looking to travel end-to-end from Glasgow to Edinburgh will no longer be able to take a train from Queen Street high level platforms, as the trains will only go as far as Linlithgow.

Instead, they will have to switch to the slower Queen Street low level trains or travel on the longer route from Glasgow Central Station.

Engineers said the tunnel closure was necessary so tracks could be lowered to create space for overhead power lines for the new trains, which will be introduced at the end of next year.

This is the latest phase of the Scottish government's Edinburgh Glasgow Improvement Programme (EGIP).

How will train works affect passengers?

ScotRail said the main routes affected would be:

  • Glasgow Queen Street High Level - Falkirk High - Edinburgh
  • Alloa / Dunblane / Stirling - Edinburgh
  • Linlithgow - Edinburgh Park
  • Edinburgh - Glenrothes (Fife Circle)

In addition, the following services will be busier than normal in both directions:

  • Glasgow Queen Street Low Level - Airdrie/Bathgate - Edinburgh
  • Glasgow Central - Shotts/Motherwell - Edinburgh

How will you be affected by the work?

Some have questioned why the rail improvement work is taking place at the same time as major upgrades to the road network in Central Scotland.

Work on the £500m M8 M73 M74 Motorway Improvements Project in Lanarkshire is already leading to disruption as traffic restrictions are in force.

Transport Minister Derek Mackay advised people to plan their journeys and assured them it would be worth it.

The work on the Winchburgh tunnel is due to be completed by 27 July.

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