Workers have almost completed the laying of track for the Borders Railway and are due to reach the terminus at Tweedbank early next month.
On Wednesday of last week the track-laying train passed through Bowshank Tunnel, just north of Galashiels.
More than 34 miles of track – including three double line sections – have been put down since the first section was laid at the new Shawpark station on October 9 last year. When the final five miles of track are laid and tested, motorists on the A7 should see much less disruption and fewer delays.
Hugh Wark, project director with Network Rail commented: “Once the line is fully installed, much of the construction support deliveries will be able to be taken off the roads and delivered directly down the route by rail.
“This means that residents and road users should see the number of heavy goods vehicles and plant machinery on the roads reduced in coming months.
“We still have a lot of work to carry out ahead of the project’s summer completion date, but we are at a very exciting point, with only eight months to go until the line is fully operational.”
The first trains are due to run on September 6, providing a direct service between Tweedbank and Edinburgh Waverley. Stations in the Borders are at Tweedbank, Galashiels and Stow, but there have been fresh calls for a station to be created at Heriot where residents have suffered major disruption.
Meanwhile, a meeting to discuss how companies can benefit from the railway has been organised by Scottish Borders Business Forum, and takes place tomorrow at the headquarters of Scottish Borders Council in Newtown St Boswells.