Borders Services Hit The Tracks

The first regular passenger trains in almost half a century today (SUN) begin operating between Edinburgh and the Scottish Borders.

The Scottish Government’s £296million Borders Railway is the longest domestic line to be built in the UK in over 100 years and has been delivered on time and on budget.

And the inaugural ScotRail service will run from Tweedbank in the Scottish Borders at 8.45am this morning, bringing this long-awaited project to life 46 years after the original line – known as the Waverley Line – was torn out in the infamous Beeching cuts.

Infrastructure Secretary Keith Brown said:

“The Borders Railway is now open for business! Many people have waited a very long time to hear those words and I am proud and excited to be able to say them.

“The communities along the route have now been able to experience their new railway with a party to remember, and from today they will be able to make it a part of their everyday lives.

“Scotland’s railways are enjoying a period of success not seen since the time that the old Waverley line was built in the Victorian era, largely thanks to the Scottish Government’s record levels of investment, but also because the people of Scotland see the benefits of rail.

“The Borders Railway will be a real catalyst for growth in the Scottish Borders and Midlothian. It will open up new opportunities for work, leisure, study and investment and business for these areas which will, in turn, benefit the wider Scottish economy.

“Today promises to be a busy day for the new line and I look forward to seeing just how many people have turned up to enjoy these first ever ScotRail Borders Railway services.”

The opening festival was launched on Friday evening with the switch-on of gold illuminations at half a dozen well-known landmarks along the route of the new railway.

Edinburgh Castle, the Scott Monument, Midlothian’s Newtongrange Mining Museum, the Newbattle Viaduct (which forms part of the railway), the new Galashiels Transport Interchange and the town’s Reiver Monument were all lit up ahead of Golden Ticket Day.

Yesterday (SAT) saw 1,600 lucky Golden Ticket winners celebrate at street parties in their local communities before boarding special ScotRail preview services.

Her Majesty The Queen will perform the formal opening of the line at a special ceremony on Wednesday, the day she overtakes Queen Victoria’s reign to become the longest-serving monarch.

ScotRail Alliance Managing Director Phil Verster said:

“Today heralds a new era of opportunity for the Borders and for the whole of Scotland. This is the first of many major infrastructure and service improvements that will transform the railway in our country.

“New trains will mean more seats, faster journey times and appealing ticket offers. A programme of refurbishment will enable customers to enjoy amazing scenic routes, like the Borders, from the comfort of modern, well equipped trains. And new partnerships with local authorities, and business and community organisations will deliver a railway that connects people from door to destination.”

Notes to editors

Contact Donna Watson: 07786-661926

For information about accessing stations, please contact ScotRail.

Images from Golden Ticket Day will be sent to picture desks throughout the day, or can be obtained by contacting the number below.

More information on Borders Railway can be found here:

Further details about ScotRail Borders Railway services can be found here:

Published 5 Sep 2015