New book recalls struggle to get Borders railway built

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With the new Borders railway now under construction, a book on the history of the North British Railway – the company behind the Waverley line in the 19th century – has just been released.

Founded in 1842 and based in Edinburgh, the North British was the largest of Scotland’s railway companies in the great age of steam and the force that gave us the renowned Waverley line.

The book, by historian and railway expert David Ross, gives a full account of the intrigues, infighting and rivalries that surrounded the construction of the first Borders route, from Edinburgh to Hawick, and on to Carlisle.

The company chairman, Richard Hodgson, himself a Border squire from Carham-on-the-Tweed, battled for several years to get the line completed and the book gives the full story of the epic struggle.

The story is also told of the Border Counties Railway, once part of a ‘main line’ between Edinburgh and Newcastle and the Berwickshire Railway between St Boswells and Berwick.

The 288-page hardback has more than 160 photographs from the 19th and early 20th centuries, along with 17 maps. The book, priced £30, is available to buy postage-free from Stenlake Publishing by visiting