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Passenger services begin on Borders Railway

Passenger services began yesterday on the Borders Railway, Britain’s longest new domestic railway built for more than 100 years.

On Saturday the lucky holders of ‘golden tickets’ enjoyed preview journeys along the 30 mile (50km) route, with many commenting on the stunning scenery and how much quicker journeys will be than going by bus.

Infrastructure minister Keith Brown said: “The Borders Railway has become a symbol of this golden age for Scotland's railways, and it will be the vehicle for a new prosperity for the communities on the route.”

The Queen will perform the ceremonial opening of the £294m new line on Wednesday.

Almost all of the new line sits on the existing route along the Waverley Line that was closed back in 1969 – though the new project only reaches as far as Tweedbank, whilst the old line went all the way to Carlisle. The Borders Railway line branches out after Newcraighall, with seven new stations built: Shawfair, Eskbank, Newtongrange, Gorebridge, Stow, Galashiels and Tweedbank.

Borders Railway timetable

Last week, ScotRail unveiled today the first of 40 revamped Class 158 trains as part of a wider £14m modernisation project. It left the Knorr-Bremse RailServices’ Springburn depot in Glasgow in preparation for running services on the Borders Railway.

From Thursday (10 September), heritage steam train journeys begin on the new railway, hauled by the 60009 Union of South Africa, one of the six remaining LNER Class A4 steam locomotives in the UK, built in Doncaster almost 80 years ago.

Track laying began less than a year ago, on 6 October 2014, and finished in February this year. BAM Nuttall was the principal contractor to Network Rail, which was appointed by the Scottish government to deliver the scheme when the original procurement process fell through. The construction work itself progressed well, although it had some safety problems along the way. The project as a whole was delivered years later than originally expected, however.

Although the new route is not electrified, it has been engineered to allow for easier OLE installation in the future.

The Scotsman paper reported that about 1,200 passengers had travelled on the line by 4pm yesterday. Among those it spoke to was Andrew Bethune, who was 16 when the old line was closed. He told the paper: “When the first train came in from Galashiels [on Saturday] it was really quite emotional. This is brilliant.”

Borders Railway. Andrew Milligan, PA Wire


Andrew Gwilt   08/09/2015 at 01:42

Its good to see the Border Line (partly Waverley Line) to be reopened to Tweedbank with the Waverley Line which could be reopened from Galashiels to Carlisle and a new railway line from Tweedbank to Newcastle known to be as the Border Line as the Waverley Line to Carlisle could be reopened once the new tracks and signalling is completed plus both lines could be electrified (25kv AC Overhead).

Darryl Smith   08/09/2015 at 17:44

Good to see the line opened, and I am looking forward to travelling on the line on Thursday. There are only four A4's in the UK, the other two are in the USA and Canada.

Bob Bracegirdle   09/09/2015 at 01:28

It's not a new railway. It's an old one brought up to date but none the worse for that. As ever it makes one wonder why it was ever suppressed in the first place.

RTM   09/09/2015 at 09:16

Thanks for the update on the locations of the A4s, Darryl.

Simon James   09/09/2015 at 11:18

And on to Carlisle - at £300M this is a very cheap way of improving communications - a shame it wasn't better future proofed but a damn sight better way of spending money than on the IEP, or motorway and road expansion.

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