Power lines warning for North Lanarkshire as train tests begin

Engineers work on railway power lines
Engineers work on railway power lines

Members of the public are being warned that overhead power cables on the railway line from Holytown to Midcalder junction will be live from November 4.

Electrification work on the line across North Lanarkshire and West Lothian will soon enter its testing and safety validating process, which will enable the introduction of electric trains.

With the overhead wires carrying 25,000 volts of electricity, a campaign is underway to highlight the new dangers an electrified railway poses to those who trespass on the tracks or accidentally make contact with overhead lines.

Brian Mallon, Network Rail’s programme manager for Shotts Line electrification, said: “Energisation is an important phase of work to test and validate the new equipment and ensure it is operating as it should.

“As well as ‘live testing’ the equipment, the energisation phase of the work is critical to ensuring the safe introduction of the electric trains that will operate on the route.

“Electrification also marks a significant change to the railway in terms of risk for those living or working nearby, 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.

“Electric trains 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 – enough to kill anyone who comes into contact with them.”

As well as more than 10,000 safety leaflets being delivered through every door in lineside communities and messages online through social media, Network Rail is working with industry partners in schools and through local groups to take the safety message into the classroom and into the community.

Network Rail is working in partnership with the British Transport Police, Scottish Football Association and local council education departments across the area to deliver the rail safety message.

Additionally, a range of resources is available to highlight the changes in an electrified railway, including Rail Life, an initiative aimed at young people, which provides teachers and parents with a range of resources on rail safety issues.

Further information can be found at Rail Safety Resources.

The electrification of central Scotland’s railway is part of the Scottish Government’s investment to modernise and upgrade the country’s rail infrastructure.