THE Alloa train line reopened this week following the successful completion of a four-week long, multi-million-pound upgrade project to prepare the line for electric trains.

Hundreds of engineers worked over 16,000 hours to install the overhead power equipment needed to introduce electric services on the route.

The work, which is part of a Scottish Government-funded programme to electrify lines throughout the central belt, started on Saturday, March 17.

Over the four weeks engineers worked from Stirling to Alloa along the six miles of the route, installing over 200 masts, and supporting cantilevers, and stringing overhead power lines.

The project is part of the wider programme to electrify the lines linking Stirling, Alloa and Dunblane to Glasgow and Edinburgh.

Once complete, in 2019, the electrification of Stirling-Dunblane-Alloa will mean many services operated by electric class 385 trains, which will offer a better experience and reduce some journey times from Stirling to Glasgow and Edinburgh.

There will also be more seats on services between Alloa, Dunblane, Bridge of Allan, Stirling and Edinburgh while there should be less noise and better air quality for those who live and work near the railway.

Humza Yousaf, Minister for Transport and the Islands, said: “I want to thank passengers for their cooperation and patience while alternative travel arrangements were in place. It will be welcome news that these works have been completed on time.

“Over this four-week period Network Rail crews worked tirelessly to safely and successfully install over 200 masts and 14 kilometres of overhead wiring, taking us a step closer to electric services on the Stirling to Alloa route by December 2018.”

Paul Reilly, Network Rail programme manager, said: “Electrification will transform travel across the central belt of Scotland and is part of our commitment to delivering the best railway Scotland has ever had.

“Our engineers worked around-the-clock to complete this complex programme as quickly as possible in what were, at times, challenging weather conditions.

“We understand the inconvenience these works cause to some passengers and residents and we appreciate the patience they have shown while we delivered this vital element of our electrification programme.”