“This is an amazing moment. This is not just the opening of a new railway line; it is the opening up of a large part of our country to incredible new opportunities to grow and to prosper..."
After a wait of 46 years, the picturesque Scottish Borders will again be home to rail when Her Majesty the Queen opens the longest new line built in the UK for over a century tomorrow. The new Borders Railway runs between Tweedbank, the home of Sir Walter Scott and the Scottish capital of Edinburgh. Until the line reopened, the Borders was the largest area of the UK without a rail link and had seen a lengthy campaign to bring back rail. Built at a cost of £294 million, it was is the replacement for the Waverley Line which meandered its way through the region before shutting in 1969. Completed on-time and according to its management on-budget, it is expected to carry almost 650,000 passengers a year and will deliver new jobs and new opportunities for economic growth across Midlothian and the Borders.
The new line – funded by Transport Scotland/Scottish Government and constructed by Network Rail - consists of seven new stations joined together by thirty miles of new track. The principal contractors for the construction were BAM Nuttall and at its peak the BAM team for the project topped 1,000 construction personnel including many local businesses from the Borders, the Lothians and Fife. Over £40m of subcontract and supply contracts were placed directly with local businesses.
Work on the project included refurbishing or building 137 bridges and laying over 1000 rails across almost 100,000 sleepers. The line will be officially opened tomorrow (Wednesday 9th September) by Her Majesty the Queen who will then travel on a steam train along the entire route
ScotRail Alliance Managing Director, Phil Verster said of the launch: “This is an amazing moment. This is not just the opening of a new railway line; it is the opening up of a large part of our country to incredible new opportunities to grow and to prosper. For fifty years, people in the Borders have campaigned to have their rail service reintroduced. I’m sure that many people thought over that time that the opening weekend would never happen. I am so pleased that we have delivered this new line and so excited about what it will do for the area and for Scotland.”
Mark Carne, Chief Executive, Network Rail added: “I am enormously proud today to see 30 miles of new railway and seven new stations added to Britain’s rail network. The Borders Railway will connect communities along the route to the rest of the country in a way they have not enjoyed in almost half a century. I look forward to seeing Midlothian and the Scottish Borders prosper economically and socially from this new route in the coming years.
For a lot more on the Borders Railway, take a look at their fantastically detailed website: www.bordersrailway.co.uk which event includes a 20 edition Podcast detailing the latest news on the project.
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