Rails for the Borders Railway crossed into the Scottish Borders for the first time in 45 years yesterday at Cakemuir Burn as the installation team continues its progress.
The milestone marks the completion of the rail installation process through Midlothian, with tracks now in place along iconic Borders Railway structures including the 167-year-old, 23-arch Lothianbridge Viaduct near Newtongrange as well as the 71.5m-long new Hardengreen Bridge.
Now the rail is in place throughout Midlothian, it is being used to transport engineering vehicles. The first vehicles to use the railway are specialist trains involved in completing the track laying process, installing ballast and undertaking ‘tamping’, packing the ballast under the rail and sleepers.
The rail installation machine will now continue its journey south through the Scottish Borders and is scheduled to reach Tweedbank towards the end of December.
Hugh Wark, Network Rail project director said: “This is a significant day, both for the Scottish Borders, which is seeing the rails extending into its boundaries for the first time in 45 years, and for Midlothian, with rail installation now completed through the area. Significantly, we’ve also reached the highest point of the route at Falahill Summit.”
Councillor David Parker, leader of Scottish Borders Council added: “Seeing the rails enter the Scottish Borders brings home the reality that trains will be running along the railway next September. The Scottish Borders is just months away from reaping the benefits of this investment that will encourage more visitors to our many attractions as well as boost the economic health of our towns and villages.”