MORE THAN 2,200 people want to drive trains on the Borders Railway, writes Kenny Paterson.
ScotRail revealed the staggering number who vied for the 18 trainee posts – meaning applicants had a one in 123 chance of landing a job.
Around 1,500 people put their names forward for the positions before Christmas, with 2,229 applications being submitted by the deadline of mid-January.
Christine Grahame, MSP for Midlothian South, Tweeddale and Lauderdale, and long-term supporter of the £300million scheme to open in 2015, said the high interest in the Tweedbank-based jobs was a good sign.
She said: “They are very attractive jobs – people want to be involved in a new project with a national profile such as this.
“The positions carry a bit of kudos – it will be great to say you drive a train for a living.
“I also think it is good for the area, as successful applicants will likely be from around the country and therefore will come to the Borders to live.
“It is another example that the railway really is coming. I have seen the work going on in Gorebridge and Galashiels and there is real progress.”
The posts have a starting salary of £22,281, rising to £39,204 after training and probationary period is completed.
The job advert explained that successful candidates will have to be wary of various elements when driving, including foliage.
A ScotRail spokeswoman said: “The selection process has begun and the first recruits will begin their training in late spring.”
Network Rail also announced this week that it has employed 15 local people to work on the line, with three junior posts being created with contractors BAM Nuttall.
And planning applications for two new bridges at Glenfield Road and Wheatlands Road in Galashiels have also been submitted.