Fire Damage Causes Severe Disruption On ScotRail Services
19 January 2017, 14:37 | Updated: 19 January 2017, 14:39
Rail passengers are facing severe disruption following a deliberate fire which caused significant damage to the track and overhead power lines.
Trains between Airdrie and Bathgate were suspended for almost 14 hours following the blaze near Blackridge station in West Lothian on Wednesday evening.
Emergency services were called to the scene at around 9.30pm following reports of a fire beside the railway.
The line was closed and overhead power supply cut to allow the fire service to tackle the blaze, which was extinguished by midnight.
After specialist officers had completed their on-site investigation, the line was handed back for repairs at around 2am.
It is estimated the cost of repairs will run into the tens of thousands, British Transport Police (BTP) said.
Engineers have been working to repair the damage and bring signals back on line.
Trains between Milngavie and Edinburgh were cancelled, with services between Helensburgh and Edinburgh only running between Airdrie and Helensburgh. A rail shuttle service ran between Bathgate and Edinburgh.
The ScotRail Alliance said it is gradually reintroducing a service over the route, but warned it may take some time to restore a full service due to the number of trains and crew left out of place by the disruption.
A spokesman said: ''To keep people moving, replacement shuttle buses ran between Airdrie and Bathgate and valid train tickets could be used on Lothian Buses and Edinburgh Trams between Edinburgh Park and Edinburgh.
''Customers affected are reminded to retain their tickets in order to reclaim through our Delay Repay scheme if their journey is delayed by more than 30 minutes.
''We do not tolerate vandalism on the railway, and we will assist the BTP in any way they require with the investigation.''
BTP Detective Constable Niall McGugan said: ''Although this fire was contained very quickly, the damage was extensive and the repair cost will be significant.
''Whilst we are still working to determine exactly what happened, at this time we are working to the presumption that this fire was started deliberately.
''I am very keen to speak with anyone who may have been in the area at this time or saw anyone acting suspiciously. Please get in touch as your information may help us investigate.''