Edinburgh-Glasgow Line Seriously Damaged by Flooding

The railway line that connects Scotland’s capital, Edinburgh, with Glasgow has sustained serious damage due to flooding near Polmont.

A huge amount of rainfall on 12 August caused a 30m section of the Union canal at Muiravonside to be breached. The canal water gushed down the slope, flooding the main line between Polmont and Bo’ness.

Aerial view of Glasgow Edinburgh railway line flooding
Aerial view of the washed away track between Glasgow and Edinburgh

Now the flood water is subsiding from the tracks and engineers have been able to inspect the 300m section of damaged track. Following the initial assessments, Network Rail believes the damage is so severe, it could take to months to repair and reopen the line. However, this is an estimated timeframe.

Thousands of gallons of water from the canal exerted a huge forced on the railway line, washing away sections of track as well as undermining embankments. Furthermore, the water washed away masts holding up overhead lines and damaged others. It uprooted trees, leaving them scattered over the tracks.

Close up view of flood damage to Glasgow Edinburgh railway line
Close up view of flood damage to the railway line and electrification infrastructure

Overall, more than a kilometre of track and ballast have become contaminated and these will need replacing.

The Network Rail team is working with Scottish Canals. The first priority was to secure the canal to put a stop to the flooding. That was achieved on 14 August.

Kevin McClelland, Route Delivery Director, Network Rail, said:

“We are working with our asset engineers and specialist contractors to assess the scale and extent of the damage and what we will need to do to safely reinstate the railway.

“It is remarkable to see the destructive power of the flowing water and the extent of the flooding and the scale of the damage is something I have never witnessed before on the railway. We are grateful to our colleagues at Scottish Canals for their prompt response in dealing with this unprecedented incident.

“We are working as quickly as possible to complete these repairs and to get passengers back onto the railway.”

The operator, ScotRail, will provide passengers with information about alternative travel routes as well as bus replacement services.

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