Fast Track to the Scottish Borders

Queen Elizabeth opens Borders Railway 

On the 9th September 2016, Queen Elizabeth became Britain’s longest serving monarch and,  opened the Borders Railway.


The Duke of Edinburgh and I are delighted to have arrived here today….particularly by train.  The Borders Railway brings so much promise for sharing and invigorating the Borders countryside as place to live, work and enjoy.  Prince Philip and I are very grateful for the warmth of your welcome.


Despite early scepticism before and during the construction, the popularity of the Borders Railway has exceeded all expectations.


Key Facts about Borders Railway

  • 30 miles (48km) long
  • Longest new domestic railway to be built in Britain for over 100 years
  • Single track non-electrified railway with 3 dynamic passing loops
  • 42 new bridges were built and 95 refurbished
  • 2 tunnels refurbished
  • 1.5 million tonnes of earth moved.
  • There are ten stations along the route: Tweedbank, Galashiels, Stow, Gorebridge, Newtongrange, Eskbank, Shawfair, Newcraighall, Brunstane and Edinburgh Waverley
  • It takes approximately 55 minutes to travel between Tweedbank (Melrose) and Edinburgh Waverley
  • Ticket machines operate at most of the stations
  • All stations have park and ride facilities except Galashiels, where Scottish Borders Council built a £5.2 million bus/rail interchange.
  • In the first three months 350,000 passengers travelled on the new line, against an annual target of 650,000
  • Visitor number surged 65% at Abbotsford House, the areas most famous visitor attraction
  • 17 steam train journeys sold out
Borders Railway Chocolate

Borders Railway Chocolate


Times and Fares


Life, death and rebirth

The journey from the closure in 1969 of the Waverley Line (as part of the Beeching cuts) to the Borders Railway, is documented in a book  by David Spaven:  The Waverley Line: the life, death and rebirth of the Borders Railway (2012).  The 16 year old Spaven, was an objector to the 1969 closure of the Waverley Line through the Borders.  Reflecting on the personal significance of the opening of the Borders  Railway he said

Looking back over this lengthy saga, I spent more than half my life being angry about the closure of the Waverley Route, leaving the Borders as the only region of Britain without a rail service, and I’ve campaigned for the re-instatement of the railway for more than 20 years. So the 6th of September is an emotional milestone for me.

But my first journey on the Borders Railway will not be until the special train for the royal opening on 9th September, three days after ScotRail trains start running – a neat symmetry with my last journey on the Waverley Route, three days before its closure


Next Stop

The  Campaign for Borders Rail  continues for the line to be extended to Melrose and Hawick. In June 2015, the Scottish Infrastructure Minister Keith Brown, confirmed that talks were underway on the commissioning of a feasibility study for an extension to Hawick and Carlisle.  In July 2015, Fergus Ewing the Tourism Minister, said that he would not rule out a further extension, describing the line as “one of the most exciting and most effective events and transport services that there has ever been for tourism”
Next stop Carlisle.

2 thoughts on “Fast Track to the Scottish Borders

  1. Lesley W says:

    I plan to visit the Borders and travel down by train so found your article very helpful. Loving the blog and will be looking forward to regular posts so that my knowledge of the area will be extended and this will increase my enjoyment of the area when I visit there.

    • Stephanie says:

      Have a great time. Look out for the new Farmers Market in Melrose at Priorwood Gardens and the new gallery on the High Street.

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