Breich Station earmarked for first Scottish rail closure in 31 years

The footbridge would cost 1.4 million to replace as part of electrification of the line. Picture: Network Rail
The footbridge would cost 1.4 million to replace as part of electrification of the line. Picture: Network Rail
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Plans to close Breich Station in West Lothian, which has just three passengers a week, were announced by Network Rail today.

If confirmed, the unstaffed station on the Edinburgh-Glasgow line via Shotts would be the first Scottish closure since 1986 when Balloch Pier Station on Loch Lomond shut.

The station serves just 138 passengers a year. Picture: Network Rail

The station serves just 138 passengers a year. Picture: Network Rail

The move has been prompted by the £1.4 million cost of upgrading the station to "modern standards" as part of electrification of the line, which would be saved if it was closed.

It is understood the station is likely to have stayed open otherwise.

Only one train a day in each direction stops at Breich, which was opened in 1869, with no trains on Sundays.

It served just 138 passengers in 2015-16 - an average of 2.6 passengers a week.

The improvements require replacing the footbridge, new platforms, a new waiting shelters and updating the CCTV system.

The nearest stations are Addiewell, two miles to the east, and Fauldhouse, nearly three miles to the west.

Network Rail said a three-month consultation would be launched on 10 July.

David Dickson, infrastructure director of the ScotRail Alliance with Network Rail, said: “We take pride in the role we have played in growing Scotland’s railway in recent years.

"Where there is proof of demand, such as the Airdrie-Bathgate route and along the Borders Railway, we have actively supported the opening of new stations and the reopening of old ones.

“As a responsible steward of the railway and a publicly-run organisation, it is also Network Rail’s responsibility to ensure we consider value for money in relation to the operation of station and rail services.

“The current and projected demand for rail services to and from Breich is very low.

"Closure of the station must be considered as an option, however, the views of the local community are vital when making a decision on its future.

“I encourage anyone with an interest in Breich Station to read through our consultation document and share their views with us.

"A report will be submitted to Transport Scotland in October 2017 for consideration.”

Network Rail has arranged drop-in information events at Woodmuir Primary School in Breich from 3:15-7pm on 28 June and 30 August.

A consultation document is available at www.networkrail.co.uk/breichstation