Bathgate Station on track for autumn opening

Ron McAulay, Network Rail director, Scotland and Stewart Stevenson MSP, Transport Minister, pay a visit to the site of the new Bathgate Station to view progress. The station will open on 18 October, with the new Airdrie-Bathgate line opening in full on 12 December

Network Rail director Scotland, Ron McAulay and Scottish Transport Minister Stewart Stevenson got an exclusive preview of the new Bathgate Station when they visited the work site recently to review progress on the construction of the Airdrie-Bathgate rail link project.

Bathgate station is the largest structure being built for passenger use on the line and, when completed in October, will offer the local travelling public one of the most accessible travel facilities in Scotland.

Ron McAulay, Network Rail’s director, Scotland said:

“Being able to see inside the new station building and to walk across the new footbridge provides a real sense of the project’s achievements to date. Viewing these structures at first hand is tangible proof that we are making excellent progress towards completing not only Bathgate Station, but the Airdrie-Bathgate Rail Link as a whole.

“The opening of the relocated Bathgate station in October will mark a major milestone for the project. Construction is continuing to progress well and, when complete, Bathgate will enjoy a station facility befitting the town and its people.”

Stewart Stevenson, Scottish Government Transport Minister said:

“Scotland has the toughest climate change legislation anywhere in the world and our ambitious climate change delivery plan means persuading motorists to get out of their cars and use more sustainable forms of transport.

“The new facilities at Bathgate Station, with expanded parking facilities and provision for cyclists among many of the improvements, will encourage motorists to do just that.”

The new Bathgate station, which will be operated by ScotRail, has been relocated 400 metres to the east of the existing station and will include two platforms, a footbridge, lifts and stairs. It will also include a ticket office, waiting shelters, ticket vending machine and help points for passengers on each platform. Both station and car park will be monitored by CCTV.

The station will boast 400 parking spaces (including 20 reserved for Blue Badge holders), a bank of cycle racks, pick-up/drop off zone, taxi waiting area and two bus stops. A newly created traffic light controlled junction will also be installed to enable easier access for vehicles and to manage the flow of traffic around the station.

Since work began on the station project in May 2009, Network Rail has worked in partnership with a range of partners such as West Lothian Council, SEPA, Transport Scotland and Scotrail to ensure that disruption has been kept to a minimum for local residents. The station has been built in close proximity to an operational railway and, despite significant engineering challenges, the existing line serving Bathgate has only required short periods of inactivity to allow the installation of the passenger footbridge.

Bathgate station is one of two which have been rebuilt in a new location, the other being Drumgelloch. Livingston North and Uphall have been upgraded and three new purpose built stations have been constructed in Armadale, Blackridge and Caldercruix.

Under the new timetable, four trains per hour will stop in each direction with an approximate journey time of 25 minutes to Edinburgh and 45 minutes to Glasgow.

The £300m *Airdrie-Bathgate Rail Link is funded by Transport Scotland.

*At Q1 2006 prices

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One Response to "Bathgate Station on track for autumn opening"

  1. Sandra Watson says:

    We have the misfortune of living on the route of the soon to be completed Airdrie to Bathgate rail link. For the last 2 years we have been bullied and rail roaded (if you’ll pardon the pun) by Network Rail until it feels like every night we go go bed feeling like we’ve been hit by one of their trains. This is 2010 not 1810. How can they be allowed to get away with treating people like this?

    Campaigning by Network Rail to have the link re-opened started in 2005. We attended every public meeting held by Network Rail regarding the railway and at every turn, they assured those of us living along the route that every consideration would be given by them to ensuring disruption was kept to a minimum, they would keep us informed of every decision made affecting our property and no-one would be in worse position financially than they were before the railway was re-opened. What a joke! As soon as the bill received Royal Assent, Network Rail has rode roughshod over all of us living along the route and has treated us with total contempt. You can’t expect a project of the size of the Airdrie Bathgate Rail Link to go ahead without some disruption, but it’s Network Rail’s attitude in dealing with us and the concerns we have which makes it so frustrating and stressful. Every problem we take to them has to go back to a committee which will sit 3 weeks later and ultimately they will do what suits them – not what’s best for those of us living at the heart of the construction work.

    We have had:

    land compulsory purchased which has taken Network Rail 2 years to part pay for – and we have only been given what they think it’s worth. How would you like someone to come along and take a chunk of your garden, not pay you for it, not tell you when they’re going to pay you for it, not tell you what they’re going to pay you for it and finally take no account of what the garden is worth to you when they finally decide to pay up!
    stock fenced in to one side of the field with no gate to let them out. It took 8 weeks for them to put a gate in the field and when they eventually did fit a gate, they built a compound in front of it so we still couldn’t use it (and still can’t)!
    a new water pipe laid – they have dug through it twice and made makeshift repairs to it. Guess who’ll be without water when the frost comes!
    boundary fences taken down and moved because, according to Network Rail, they weren’t put up in the right place. This is despite having a host of no doubt highly paid professionals survey the ground 101 times before the fences were erected.
    dishes falling off the draining board because of the vibrating roller they are using 40 feet from our front door!
    alternative access routes proposed into our farm which would involve around a 2 mile trip to get us to our original starting point on a single lane back road, unlit and barely suitable for walking never mind driving
    a footbridge cancelled which would give us and other villagers access across the line supposedly because of concerns raised by residents and local politicians – unfortunately no local politician is admitting to being against the footbridge and so far Network Rail haven’t come up with the identity of him/her. This is despite the fact that work on the footbridge was nearly completed and the foundations had already been laid – all that remained was for the bridge to be put in place. This means we, and more importantly, our children will be totally isolated from the Village and what just now is a 5 min walk to the shops will turn into a 35 min walk to the end of the Village and back up the Main Street.
    from the start of the project the safety of our children has always been a major concern of ours with work going on so close to our house. Up until now, we have had the backing of Network Rail in that we should not be expected to share our access to our home with the heavy plant and tipper lorries entering and leaving the site. Network Rail have now made such a mess of scheduling their work along line, that other accesses have now been blocked off and we are now expected to compete with the site traffic to get in and out of our home. We have tried to restrict their usage of our access by parking at the entrance yesterday – only to have them call the police (twice) and send us a nasty lawyers letter! It’s the quickest we’ve seen their representatives in suits spring into action since work started! Of course, they wouldn’t think to knock the door and see if the situation could be resolved face to face.
    However, all of the above would be made considerably more bearable (with the exception of the cancellation of the footbridge) if Network Rail would address the issue of compensation in a reasonable manner instead of dismissing every aspect of claims submitted out of hand and coming up with derisory and frankly ridiculous offers hiding behind the excuse that they “are working from case law”. Our farm is split by the main A89 road. At the moment it takes 2 mins to walk from one side of our farm to the fields on the other side. Once our access onto the A89 is closed off, it will be around a 2 mile trip to get from one side to the other. Will we be offered a reasonable amount of compensation to cover this and allow us to carry on farming? At the moment it doesn’t seem likely. 2 years after first submitting our claim, we are no further forward to having it settled and indeed after holding on to it for 18 months, Network Rail made us re-submit it because they didn’t like the format our agent had used. Everyone looks at the chaos we are living in and thinks we’ll “do alright out of the railway”. Fat Chance!

    Throughout this whole process we have come to realise that the sad fact is that Network Rail is accountable to no-one. We have raised our concerns with our Local Councillors and with our MSP Karen Whitefield without success. We have written to Alex Salmond – who passed us to the Minister for Transport – who passed us to Transport Scotland – who passed us to Ron McAulay (Network Rail Director) and advised us to go to the Office of Rail Regulation if we still weren’t happy – ORR said they had no control over this area of Network Rail’s business. So who does? There is no-one in either government or any outside body to whom Network Rail have to justify their actions to and their treatment of those of us most directly affected by the re-opening of the route. They are the biggest bully in the playground with neither a headmaster nor a parent to control them.

    From the beginning we have tried to be supportive of the Airdrie Bathgate Rail Link and we were never against the line re-opening. Indeed, we can see the benefits of linking the villages in the east to the west and thus moving traffic off the M8. We can see that villages like Plains will prosper as a result of the work being done. What we can’t see is why we (and probably more families like us along the route) are having to bear the brunt both emotionally and financially of the negative impact the work is causing while Mr McAulay and the rest of his board at Network Rail sit back ignore us. As I’ve said, this is 2010, not 1810 and no institution should have the power like that of Network Rail without any accountability whatsoever.

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