Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

Disruption mars Bathgate rail line launch

Passengers at the new station in Bathgate
Image caption Passengers at the new station in Bathgate faced disruption from 0930 BST

Delays and cancellations have marred the opening of a part of a new rail line in West Lothian.

Some of the first passengers using the new Bathgate railway station had to get buses to their destinations after problems with a line at Livingston.

The new facility, which is just 400m from the former station, was opened by the transport minister as part of a £300m upgrade of the line to Airdrie.

Network Rail confirmed services were disrupted from 0930 to 1300 BST.

The problems in Livingston meant just one line was running on the busy Edinburgh route during that period, rather than two.

Increased passengers

Network Rail said replacement bus services had been laid on for the stranded passengers.

The Airdrie to Bathgate line, which is due to open in full in December, is designed to improve services between places such as Helensburgh and Milngavie in the west and Edinburgh and West Lothian in the east.

The rail link project was given the go-ahead three years ago and has seen 15 miles of new track built.

The new station at Bathgate has 420 car parking spaces and will allow increased passenger numbers.

Ron McAuley, a director with Network Rail, said the new line was the longest passenger line with stations to be opened in more than 100 years.

The new service has been the focus of a dispute between Scotrail and the RMT union, over plans to employ ticket examiners rather than conductors on the new line.

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