Life beyond Galashiels for railway

Andrew Farquhar, left, and Councillor Watson McAteer board a bus at Galashiels Transport Interchange.

Andrew Farquhar, left, and Councillor Watson McAteer board a bus at Galashiels Transport Interchange.

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The bus leaving Galashiels Transport Interchange on Monday was more than just the X95 – it drove off to encourage people that there is life beyond the railway at Galashiels.

The Future Hawick bus picked up passengers from the train and headed off on a five-hour tour to the town and beyond.

Andrew Farquhar (pictured with Councillor Watson McAteer), who acted as tour guide on the first of eight trips, voted day one a success as around a dozen people got on board.

He said: “The idea is to get people into Hawick. People come to Galashiels by train, have their lunch and then go away again. Hopefully, someone may take the tours over commercially in time for the tourist season, and it will become a regular thing and ScotRail would become involved in a package deal.”

Provost Stuart Marshall added: “There is a mood in the town that we are losing out due to the railway. There is life beyond Galashiels and Tweedbank, and we hope to get people off the train and into other parts of the Borders. It would be absolutely fantastic to see the railway coming to Hawick and we need to make sure that the momentum stays now.”

Finance came from money allocated to celebrate the reopening of the former Waverley line, closed in 1969, with injection from Scottish Borders Council’s Railway Celebration Fund. Visitors on the tour saw a glass-making demo, stopped off at a cashmere centre and the high street, and returned via Jedburgh, Scott’s View and Melrose.