Linlithgow wall work builds on railway heritage

Network Rail has completed work to raise the height of walls bordering the railway at Royal Terrace and Union Road, Linlithgow, as part of the Edinburgh Glasgow Improvement Programme (EGIP). 

The £650k investment is to ensure the railway boundary is compliant with safety standards for an electrified railway and to protect the public from overhead cables, has already been commended by railway heritage groups and the local community alike.

The six month programme to raise the height of the listed Victorian boundary saw specialist stone masons use 160 tonnes of locally sourced Scotch Buff sandstone to maintain the visual integrity with existing coping stones being removed then replaced to further preserve the historic appeal of the raised walls.

Scaffold Work

Gradually moving along the walls section by section, the experienced team of stone masons over the course of more than 4200 man hours, used their knowledge of heritage projects to sympathetically construct the equivalent of 360m of new walls.

Road and pedestrian access was maintained throughout the duration of the works and the challenge of working within a confined location required bespoke, 2.5m free-standing access scaffold bays. Each was designed to remain detached from the walls, while at the same time affording a safety exclusion zone next to a live railway meaning the majority of the work could be undertaken during the day.


Kevin McClelland, Network Rail route delivery director for infrastructure projects, said: “Our focus in raising the height of the walls is to safeguard the public as we transform the infrastructure to an electrified network. However, it is important to ensure that every effort is made to protect the integrity of listed structures and conserve the character of historic railway environments. Initial feedback so far has been positive and indicates that what we have delivered what we set out to do.

“This element of the project provided us with a number of challenges given the location and the existing footprint of the railway. I have to commend the team in the way that they worked to innovate and overcome these challenges to deliver a sympathetic enhancement of the railway boundary in a conservation setting with the minimum of disruption to the local community.”

Andy Savage, Executive Director of the Railway Heritage Trust said, “The project to raise the height of the railway boundary walls at Linlithgow for electrification clearance has been an excellent piece of work by Network Rail.  It shows what can be done where the approach is to conserve and build upon the historic railway environment and is sympathetic to the surrounding community.”

Royal Terrace Dipping Wall section

“The work is impressive in both concept and execution and it’s great to see such respect for the railway’s heritage while investing in its electric future.”

EGIP is  a Scottish Government funded investment to deliver a rolling programme of electrification across the central belt – reducing journey times and increasing capacity on routes by improving the infrastructure to enable faster, greener and more energy efficient trains.

The Linlithgow walls project is part of a programme of work that has seen parapet heights raised on more than 100 structures in addition to the 60 bridges that have been raised in preparation for the electrification of central Scotland’s railway.

To date, EGIP has successfully completed the £80m electrification of the Cumbernauld line, the £25m redevelopment of Edinburgh’s Haymarket station and the completion of the new, £41m Edinburgh Gateway train-tram interchange.

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