Edinburgh Waverley to Bathgate line will become 25 years old on the 24th March after reopening to passengers in 1986.
Having only carried freight traffic to and from Bathgate (mainly automotive traffic) since passenger services ceased over the line in 1956, the line was reopened to passenger services in March 1986. Lothian Regional Council provided substantial funding toward the project, which was intended to help ease communiting difficulties to and from Edinburgh as road congestion worsened in the mid 1980s, and to alleviate some of the hardship caused by West Lothian's industrial decline. (Since passenger services had ceased in 1956, the remaining shale oil industry became extinct, coal mining was virtually ended by 1986, and the Bathgate plant of British Leyland was slated for closure.)
Economies were made in the project delivery - specifically three miles of railway were removed and between Cawburn Jn and Carmondean Jn, a single line was provided, serving Uphall railway station and Livingston North railway station. The passenger line continued to the terminus at Bathgate while a freight only line (the former Down line) ran between Carmondean Jn and Bathgate yard.
The line succeeded in respect of patronage; usage was well above predictions and over the years, Sunday trains were introduced, and the basic weekday service doubled from hourly to every thirty minutes each way.
Since the line reopened in 1986, passenger train services have normally been operated by diesel multiple units (at first mainly Class 101s, then from 1987 Class 150s and now (2008-9) Class 158 or Class 170s.)
Following completion of the Airdrie-Bathgate Rail Link and electrification of the route resulting in the incorporation of the service into the North Clyde Line timetable, services will be operated by Class 334 electric multiple units. However delay in the delivery and commissioning of the Class 380 will result in diesel services operating initially between Edinburgh and Bathgate.
Extension to Airdrie
In 2005, the Scottish Executive declared that in line with plans to upgrade the unfinished part of the A8 to motorway standard, public transport links between Glasgow and Edinburgh must also be improved.
The closed section of the Bathgate and Coatbridge Railway between the 1989 Drumgelloch station and Bathgate will be rebuilt as an electrified line, and will connect with the North Clyde Line at Drumgelloch. This will open up a valuable fourth railway link between Glasgow and Edinburgh, and many towns in West Lothian will be better connected to the Clydeside conurbation.
From 12 December 2010, the Edinburgh to Bathgate service will be absorbed into the North Clyde Line with services from Helensburgh Central and Milngavie via Airdrie.