Study puts reopening on rails
WORK is set to start on reopening the Bathgate to Airdrie rail line after consultants Babtie Group was awarded the contract to carry out a £600,000 engineering study.
The announcement, expected to be agreed by councillors at a meeting of West Lothian Council’s policy, partnership and resources committee tomorrow, will mean an imminent start on works to re-establish the line.
Technical and management consultants Babtie Group were chosen from 27 potential suppliers to carry out the study, which is being funded by the Scottish Executive.
Revamping the 14-mile line - which closed to passengers in 1956 and freight in 1979 - will need 900,000 a year to subsidise, according to the Railway Development Society (Scotland).
A study into resurrecting a train service between Glasgow and Edinburgh via Bathgate has already shown that travel times for commuters would be cut, particularly between Airdrie and Edinburgh and Livingston. Council leader Graeme Morrice said: "A paper is going before the policy, partnership and resources committee for approval on the decision to award Babtie Group a contract to carry out a detailed engineering study on the reopening of the line.
"The study is being funded by the Scottish Executive and it is expected that the company will have completed their report by spring next year."
The link was given a new lease of life in January when a major investment in roads and transport was announced.
The 450 million package also included 104m to reopen the Airdrie-Bathgate rail link, allowing new train services into the Capital from West Lothian.
Extensive works to reopen the line are expected to be completed by 2007.
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