Let’s travel back in time to the Victorian era. Right back 150 years to the 9th of July 1869 when the direct line between Glasgow and Edinburgh via Shotts opened, and the first train to depart was a grand steam train.
Back then the railways were operated by Caledonian Railway and ScotRail was still 114 years away in the future.
A little bit of history
Sitting almost exactly half way between Edinburgh and Glasgow, Shotts occupies a handy location between Scotland’s biggest cities. But its benefits today are very different to what they were back in 1869. While today, residents benefit from the great links to Edinburgh and Glasgow, back then you lived where you worked. Shotts was located on the historic Cleland and Midcalder Line which served all the mining communities in Lanarkshire and West Lothian. The development of the railway made a huge impact on the local areas and in turn Shotts Iron Works was highly regarded around the world for producing exceptional foundry castings.
Changing with the times
The route has seen a lot of change in its 150 years. When it first opened it was steam trains that frequented its tracks. Once steam trains were banned from regular service by British Rail in 1968, the line saw the introduction of diesel trains making journeys quicker and cleaner.
Then in 2006, came a big announcement from the British Government. The Shotts Line was to be electrified as part of huge improvement works for central Scotland. This would mean faster, smoother, quicker journeys and much cleaner air for those living close to the railway. The new electric trains would also bring much more capacity, make journeys more comfortable for everyone.
Electrifying the Shotts line took four years and once completed in early 2019 it was the fifth electrified line linking Edinburgh and Glasgow. On Sunday 24 February 2019, the first electric train ran through the station, starting a new era.
If the Shotts line could talk, it would surely have some great stories from over the years to tell.
Here’s to at least another 150 years. Happy Birthday!