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18 October 2010

New Station Arrives in Time For Bathgate

The new Bathgate Station opened for business today (Monday, October 18) as preparations continue for the launch of the £300m Airdrie-Bathgate Rail Link this December.

The first element of the new, Network Rail-built, line to enter service, the station was officially opened by Transport Minister Stewart Stevenson, and offers Bathgate’s rail passengers one of the most modern and accessible travel facilities in Scotland.

Today also marks the end of major construction work on the project, with the line now ready for the beginning of driver training ahead of the introduction of regular passenger services on December 12.

Constructed by Network Rail and funded by Transport Scotland, the route will allow passengers to travel direct from Helensburgh and Milngavie, in the west, to Bathgate and Edinburgh in the east.

Ron McAulay, Network Rail director Scotland, said:

“Purpose-built to meet the needs of the modern commuter, the new Bathgate Station will provide the travelling public with some of the best facilities available anywhere in Britain.

“With the new railway set to deliver a quick and regular service to both Edinburgh and Glasgow, the new line further demonstrates the growing appeal of rail travel in Scotland and provides motorists with a genuine alternative to the daily car commute.”

Transport Minister Stewart Stevenson added:

“Bathgate Station has been at the very heart of the community since the industrial revolution when it supported the local and national economy, to today where it sees over half a million passenger journeys a year.

“The Scottish Government is determined to see continued investment which will deliver sustainable economic growth for our communities and businesses, and today’s formal opening of the new Bathgate Station underlines that commitment.

“I’m delighted the new station will play a central role in the communities here in West Lothian and to the wider communities across the central belt when the Airdrie-Bathgate line reopens later this year.”

Facilities at the new station – which will be operated by ScotRail – include ticket office, waiting shelters, help points, cycle racks, pick up/drop off zone, taxi waiting areas, two bus stops and 400 parking spaces including 20 reserved for Blue Badge holders.

Steve Montgomery, ScotRail’s managing director, said:

"I am delighted to formally accept the handover of the station on behalf of ScotRail and its customers.

“It is only 400 metres away from the former station but offers so much more for our customers. I believe the station and the new line will be very popular and will encourage even more people to shift to train travel.”

The Airdrie-Bathgate Rail Link project has seen 15 miles of new track built to connect communities in West Lothian and North Lanarkshire restoring rail services after a gap of 50 years and connecting passengers to the country’s two biggest cities.

Bathgate and Drumgelloch stations have also been rebuilt as part of the project, with Livingston North and Uphall having been upgraded and three new purpose-built stations having been constructed in Armadale, Blackridge and Caldercruix.

The longest new passenger line in Britain for over a century, the rail link is expected to generate new socio-economic opportunities for those it serves and to help encourage motorists out of their cars, easing traffic on the M8.
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