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Last Updated: Friday, 9 December 2005, 11:02 GMT
New rail link for Larkhall opens
The new rail link includes new stations at Larkhall, Merryton, and Chatelherault

A major 35m branch line railway near Glasgow with three new stations has been re-opened by the first minister.

The four miles of track stretches from Larkhall to Hamilton and will ferry passengers into Glasgow Central via Merryton and Chatelherault.

The Larkhall rail link has been out of use for almost 40 years.

The northern part of the Larkhall to Milngavie line has also been extended. The mile-long Kelvindale link and station was opened a few weeks ago.

This is the first of the Scottish Executive's major rail projects to be completed.

Former rail worker George Wallace started his career on the line in 1952 and worked there until its closure in 1968.

He joined First Minister Jack McConnell and about 30 local schoolchildren on a train journey stopping at the new stations.

It's important to give the travelling public choice which they've been denied for almost 40 years
Alistair Watson
SPT

Mr McConnell said: "The opening of this line will breathe new life into Lanarkshire.

"It will connect people with jobs and businesses with customers.

"It will make sure that an area that has faced and overcome many challenges can continue to grow and prosper."

Strathclyde Passenger Transport chairman Alistair Watson told BBC Radio's Good Morning Scotland programme: "It's important, not just to South Lanarkshire and Larkhall's economy, but it's important to give the travelling public choice which they've been denied for almost 40 years.

"This is an area under massive regeneration and the provision of quality public transport will surely assist in that process."

The line will not be operating a Sunday service, but it is hoped that one will be put in place if passenger take-up is good.


BBC NEWS: VIDEO AND AUDIO
See the new line in action



SEE ALSO:
New railway station gets on track
28 Sep 05 |  Scotland
Green light for railway link
24 Feb 04 |  Scotland


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