Network Rail introduces first electric train on Glasgow-Barrhead line in Scotland

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Network Rail has achieved a significant milestone on the £63.3m Glasgow to Barrhead electrification project with the first electric test train now running on the route in Scotland.

The Class 380 train successfully completed test runs from between 15mph up to 75mph along the newly electrified lines between Glasgow Central and Barrhead station overnight on Wednesday, November 7, into Thursday, November 8.

Further test trains will run over the next few weeks ahead of the introduction of ScotRail electric passenger services on the line next month.

Over the past two years, engineers have installed 360 stanchions and structures supporting more than 66,000m of overhead power lines and renewed 130m of track.

Major modifications have been carried out to bridges along the route, including the replacement of Nithsdale Road bridge at Strathbungo to create enough space for the new overhead lines. Bridge sidewalls were raised in height at Kennishead and Priesthill and Darnley stations to make them compliant for an electrified railway.  

A significant amount of work also took place at Barrhead station, with platform three extended by nine meters to accommodate longer four-carriage electric trains. This involved moving the current buffers and rebuilding the access paths.

The Glasgow-Barrhead route is the latest to be electrified as part of a Scottish Government investment to decarbonize the railway to enable: the introduction of Class 380 electric trains which will offer a better travelling experience for passengers; a reduction of noise and better air quality for those who live and work near the railway; and drive the modal shift from road to rail and further reduce the railway’s carbon footprint.

Paul Reilly, Network Rail’s senior program manager, said: “Running the test train on the Glasgow-Barrhead line is a major milestone for everyone involved in delivering this project over the past two years. The test train successfully demonstrated that the overhead equipment is operating as it should, ahead of ScotRail introducing Class 380 electric services for passengers on the route in December.

“Electric trains are lighter, cleaner, and quieter than their diesel equivalents and cause less wear and tear to the track. More reliable, greener trains are better for our customers and environment – helping Scotland’s Railway deliver our contribution to a low carbon economy,” Reilly added.

David Simpson, ScotRail’s service delivery director, said, ““The introduction of electric Class 380 trains on the Barrhead line will ensure that customers along the route benefit from a more comfortable and reliable service. We hope this will encourage more people to choose rail travel instead of using the car, particularly during our off-peak all day fares trial.”

The Glasgow-Barrhead project forms part of the Scottish Government’s rolling program of decarbonization and follows on from the electrification of the main Edinburgh to Glasgow line, the Stirling-Dunblane-Alloa route and the Shotts line, with 325 single track kilometers of electrified railway delivered across Scotland over the past decade.