Video: Anger over three month rail closure

Campaigners staged a demonstration at Linlithgow station yesterday in an attempt to revive the ill-fated Almond Chord train link.

Members of the Railfuture group arranged a protest after drastic budget cuts in the Edinburgh-Glasgow Improvement Programme (EGIP).

Councillor Alex Davidson, Ken Sutherland (Railqwest), Dave Dufeu (concerned Linlithgow Resident), Rod McDougall (Railqwest), Colin Fischbacher (Chair of the Linlithgow Cycle Action Group), Cllr Tony Boyle ''Image

Councillor Alex Davidson, Ken Sutherland (Railqwest), Dave Dufeu (concerned Linlithgow Resident), Rod McDougall (Railqwest), Colin Fischbacher (Chair of the Linlithgow Cycle Action Group), Cllr Tony Boyle ''Image

The original plans included a three-month closure of the Winchburgh Tunnel, with train services from Linlithgow re-routed along a new rail section — the Almond Chord.

However, the proposed diversion, south of Dalmeny, was axed last July when the EGIP fund bled £350 million.

As a result, trains from Glasgow and Dunblane heading to Edinburgh will terminate at Linlithgow, with replacement buses in place. Journey times from Linlithgow to the capital will double.

Roderick McDougall, from Railfuture, said: “The Almond Chord needs to be built before the Winchburgh Tunnel closes. It’s the only plausible way to avoid disruption on the main Glasgow-Edinburgh line.

“Around 40 per cent of passengers who travel on this route do so from intermediate stations such as Linlithgow. For them, the chord is the only way to avoid upheaval on their route to Edinburgh.”

Mr McDougall argues the Almond Chord could be delivered at a cost of a reasonable £30m. However, Transport Scotland contend the figure would be considerably more.

A spokesman said: “Estimates for the original scheme indicated a cost of around £100 m for the Almond Chord.

“The closure of the Winchburgh Tunnel is required but all connections will be mainained via diversionary routes.

“Nothing being done in the initial phase of the scheme precludes the future provision of the Almond Chord or Winchburgh Station.”