Waverley line’s last passenger to be among first for Borders Railway

Bill Hastings bought a second class ticket from Galashiels to Edinburgh Waverley line train ticket on January 5 1969 - the last ticket ever for that journey. He now has a Golden Ticket for the Borders Railway on  September 5 2015.
Bill Hastings bought a second class ticket from Galashiels to Edinburgh Waverley line train ticket on January 5 1969 - the last ticket ever for that journey. He now has a Golden Ticket for the Borders Railway on September 5 2015.

A Galashiels man who purchased the last ever train ticket from his home town to Edinburgh in 1969 will be one of the first passengers trains on the new line – 46 years later.

Bill Hastings will ride on a special Borders Railway train journey on Saturday, September 5 – a day before the first paying customers get on board.

He will be accompanied by wife Marion, and the experience will be extra special for the couple because September 5 is their 45th wedding anniversary.

Bill was 27 years old when he boarded the Galashiels to Edinburgh train on Sunday January 5, 1969, making sure his second class single ticket was the last one ever bought for a northern trip on the line before it closed that day.

Now 72, Bill still has the ticket and is looking forward to being on one of the very first trains on the new line nearly five decades later.

Bill, who now lives on the Isle of Man, said: “It is such a privilege to be offered - and to accept - a Golden Ticket for a journey that for the Borders can only be described as an historic event in the making.

“I’m fair chuffed at the exciting prospect of renewing an old acquaintance.”

The Golden Ticket giveaway was launched last month and so far hundreds of people from across the region have been nominated.

Golden Ticket recipients will travel on three special trains leaving Tweedbank, Galashiels and Stow, each carrying 160 passengers.

Councillor David Parker, Leader of Scottish Borders Council (SBC), added: “I am delighted that Bill and his wife Marion will be on the Golden Ticket journey on September 5.

“The council is very keen that the Golden Tickets should go to Borderers who are the unsung heroes of our community.”