Borders Railway - main works begin at Monktonhall

Victorian Old Power House, National Mining Museum Scotland, Newtongrange'Keith Brown MSP, Minister for Transport and Veterans,  officially handed over responsibility for construction of the Borders Railway from Transport Scotland to Network Rail.'The signing of the agreement to transfer responsibility for the construction of the Borders Railway from Transport Scotland to Network Rail by David Simpson, Route Managing Director for Network Rail, Scotland and Keith Brown MSP, Minister for Transport and Veterans.'Pic Neil Hanna

Victorian Old Power House, National Mining Museum Scotland, Newtongrange'Keith Brown MSP, Minister for Transport and Veterans, officially handed over responsibility for construction of the Borders Railway from Transport Scotland to Network Rail.'The signing of the agreement to transfer responsibility for the construction of the Borders Railway from Transport Scotland to Network Rail by David Simpson, Route Managing Director for Network Rail, Scotland and Keith Brown MSP, Minister for Transport and Veterans.'Pic Neil Hanna

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Another milestone in the Borders Railway has been reached, with the main construction of 30 miles of new line beginning today.

The first works by Network Rail and contractors BAM Nuttall will involve the excavation of the track alignment for the new line through the Monktonhall area in East Lothian and the excavation of the site of the new Shawfair station in south-east Edinburgh.

The earthworks programme, which will create the line of route and base for the railway track, will now begin to roll-out in the Borders throughout summer and autumn.

Transport Minister Keith Brown said: “The start of the construction works is a hugely exciting milestone and will allow those communities to witness the scheme coming to life.

“I very much look forward to seeing the Borders Railway take shape from here with all the social, economic and environmental benefits that will bring for the area.”

David Simpson, Network Rail route managing director for Scotland, added: “From today, local communities will be able to see their new railway beginning to take shape and we look forward to working with them, our contractors and the Scottish Government to re-establish this vital transport link for the Borders.”

Scottish Borders Council leader David Parker said: “This is an important day that many people have looked forward to for a very long time, and I know that the start of full scale construction will excite people in communities the length of the line.”

The £300 million scheme is due to transport its first passengers between Tweedbank and Edinburgh Waverley by the summer of 2015.