First train to reach the Waverley Route since 1972

The first main-line train since 1972 has now reached the solum of the abandoned Waverley Route. Just after 14.30 on a wet Monday 13th October, GB Railfreight 66 736 propelled the tracklaying train through Kingsgate Points where the new Borders Railway alignment via Shawfair joins the original route from Millerhill, as shown in David Spaven’s photo below. The last previous train through here was a track recovery working in late 1972. [With apologies to the Waverley Route Heritage Association!]

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First rail-laying train on the Borders Railway!

Monday 6th October saw the first rail-laying train on the Borders Railway start work when a Dutch machine began heading south from Newcraighall. CBR’s intrepid photographer waited two and a half hours in a howling gale to record this unique occasion, as portrayed in two photos reproduced here:

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2522 – The first rail-laying train on the Borders Railway. Just before 10.00 on a dreich Monday 6th October, the train begins inching its way south from Newcraighall, propelled by GB Railfreight 66 736. Track laying up to this point (with 60 ft rails) had been by means of cranes and other mobile equipment. Millerhill loco stabling point is in the background. [Photo: David Spaven]

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2524 – Just after 10.00 on Monday 6th October, the rail-laying train inches steadily southwards from Newcraighall, propelled by GB Railfreight 66 736. The train is on what will become the Up line to Tweedbank (the logic being that the ECML from Waverley station is Up – to London – so it makes sense to continue that designation for the Borders Railway). Sister loco 66 726 sits on what will be the Down line to Edinburgh. [Photo: David Spaven]

Abellio to run Borders Railway – & CBR 2014 AGM is announced

Abellio, a subsidiary of Dutch state railways, has won the new ScotRail franchise it was announced today – and will therefore be the first operator of the new Borders Railway. Leaving aside the issue of whether the new franchise should have been postponed pending potential new transport powers to come to the Scottish Parliament, it’s clear that Abellio has some exciting plans, a taste of which came in their press release today:

“Working with partners to attract international attention to the scenic beauty of Scotland’s railways with major upgrades to Scotland’s scenic trains to enhance the tourist experience:
• Specially refurbished trains to align seats with windows
• More luggage, cycle and ski storage
• Additional service to Oban in peak season
• A Tourist Ambassador and improved on board catering that showcases local Scottish produce
• Special events in the low season to attract customers”

CBR has just issued its latest newsletter (attached), which includes details of the AGM to be held on 6th November at St Peters Church, Galashiels. We already have one excellent guest speaker confirmed and will shortly be announcing other guests. A big attendance is expected at this last AGM before the railway opens.

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