Network Rail has announced overhead power lines have gone live as part of the Edinburgh Glasgow Improvement Programme (EGIP).
This latest electrification announcement is a major step to connection of the line from Glasgow to Falkirk Grahamston, which will extend the distance electric trains can run.
The overhead power lines that have gone live – the official date given was 12 March – are for the railway between Cumbernauld and Greenhill Lower junction, which carry 25,000 volts of electricity.
It is the latest section of Scotland’s railway that has been energised, and comes hot on the heels of completion last autumn of the electrification of the main Edinburgh to Glasgow line, via Falkirk.
Moreover, this latest announcement once again reaffirms just how crucial electrification is for the future of Britain’s railways, and as a result, the role that firms supplying overhead line equipment are.
Kevin McClelland is the route delivery director for infrastructure projects at Network Rail. He explained not only the importance of safety around electrification, but also how energising the rail lines will improve the service.
He said: “Electrification marks a significant change to the railway environment in terms of risk for those living or working near to the newly electrified routes so it is important we do what we can to make people, particularly young people, aware of this change and encourage them to stay safe near the railway.
“Energisation is also an important phase of work to test and validate the new equipment and ensure it is operating as it should ahead of the introduction of electric trains on the route.
“The benefit of electric trains is they will be quieter and accelerate faster than the diesel ones they replace. The overhead power lines we have installed carry 25,000 volts of electricity.
“The message is a simple one – electrified lines are always on, so always stay off.”
The EGIP – one of the Scottish government’s flagship railway projects – will reduce journey times and add more capacity along with more reliable journeys.