ScotRail issues alternative travel plan during major improvement works at Carstairs

Last updated: Monday, 20 February 2023

ScotRail has released details of its alternative travel plan for customers impacted by major upgrade works by Network Rail set to take place at Carstairs.

Network Rail will work to modernise the layout of the Carstairs Junction, a key section of the West Coast Mainline linking Glasgow and Edinburgh to London, in three phases between 4 March and 30 May 2023.

The £164million overhaul will see the infrastructure operator simplify and upgrade the track-layout to clear an existing bottleneck on the network, making it more reliable and able to better cope with both passenger and freight demands.

ScotRail is urging customers in Carstairs, Carluke, Wishaw, and Motherwell, to plan ahead and know their travel options, as services between Glasgow Central and Edinburgh Waverley via Carstairs will be impacted for the duration of the works.

No ScotRail services will operate between Glasgow Central and Edinburgh Waverley via Carstairs from Saturday, 4 March, however the train operator will run the following amended peak time services:

  • 07.05 Glasgow Central to Edinburgh via Carstairs will be diverted via Shotts with replacement buses in operation from Carstairs, Carluke, Wishaw and Motherwell for customers to connect at Bellshill.
  • 07.18 Carstairs to Glasgow Central High Level and 07.39 Carstairs to Garscadden via Glasgow Central Low Level will start at Wishaw.
  • 17.37 Anderston to Carstairs will terminate at Wishaw.

The train operator has arranged for valid train tickets between Carstairs and Glasgow Central to be accepted on the 37 and 137 Stuarts Coaches service between Carstairs and Lanark, allowing customers to connect with ScotRail services between Lanark and Glasgow Central High Level, and providing customers in Carstairs with an hourly service to and from Glasgow.

Customers in Carluke, Wishaw, and Motherwell, will all be able to use the half-hourly ScotRail service between Lanark and Glasgow Central.

For travel to and from Edinburgh Waverley, ScotRail will operate a replacement bus service, approximately every two hours, between Carluke, Carstairs, and Fauldhouse, where customers can connect with services from Glasgow Central to Edinburgh Waverley via Shotts.

Customers in Carluke, Wishaw, and Motherwell are all encouraged to use the Lanark to Glasgow Central service and change trains at Bellshill for onward travel to Edinburgh on ScotRail’s Glasgow Central to Edinburgh Waverley via Shotts services. The train operator is asking customers to allow additional time for travel as journey times will be extended compared to the normal service via Carstairs.

ScotRail is encouraging customers travelling throughout the upgrade to buy their tickets via the mTicket system on the ScotRail app as the ticket office at Carstairs station will be closed for the full duration of the works, and a valid ticket will be required before boarding rail replacement buses.

Buying tickets through the mTickets system means people can buy their tickets from the comfort of their home or on the way to the station and it will instantly become available on their mobile device.

The improvement work will also impact Avanti West Coast, TransPennine Express, Caledonian Sleeper, LNER, and CrossCountry services. Customers using these services are encouraged to check with the operator to see how their journey will be affected.

More information on the Carstairs Junction improvement work is available at

David Simpson, ScotRail Service Delivery Director, said:

“The remodelled layout and enhancements Network Rail is carrying out at Carstairs will deliver increased reliability and resilience of the infrastructure which will benefit ScotRail customers for years to come.

“It’s all part of our ongoing commitment to deliver a modern, reliable, efficient rail network that is fit for the future.

“We’re urging customers to plan ahead and know their travel options as their normal journey might be different while this work is taking place. Some journey times will be longer, but we will keep you moving.

“You can find out more about our alternative travel plan and what it means for your own journey by visiting the ScotRail website or by downloading our free mobile app.”

Liam Sumpter, Network Rail Scotland Route Director, said:

“Carstairs Junction is coming to the end of its life cycle and with the volume of freight and passenger trains passing through each week it’s important that we modernise this part of the network.

“By completing this crucial upgrade work we will improve the capabilities and reliability of this strategically important junction, providing better future journeys for passengers and more capacity for freight.

“There’s never a good time to close such an important line but this is a huge and extremely complex piece of work that will safeguard the future of the route for years to come.

“We appreciate that this will cause some inconvenience and would like to thank customers for their patience during this time.”