The first rails to be laid in the Borders for the area’s new railway crossed into the region yesterday (Nov 5).
The rails entered the Borders at Cakemuir Burn as the Borders Railway rail installation team continues its progress down the link’s 30-mile route.
The milestone marks the completion of the rail installation process through Midlothian, with tracks now in place along iconic structures including the 23-arch Lothianbridge Viaduct, near Newtongrange.
Now that rails are in place throughout Midlothian, they are being used to transport engineering vehicles. The first vehicles to use the railway are specialist trains involved in completing the track laying process, installing ballast and undertaking ‘tamping’, packing the ballast under the rail and sleepers.
The rail installation machine will now continue its journey south through the Borders and is scheduled to reach Tweedbank towards the end of December.
Hugh Wark, Network Rail project director, said: “This is a significant day, both for the Scottish Borders, which is seeing the rails extending into its boundaries for the first time in 45 years, and for Midlothian, with rail installation now completed through the area. Significantly, we’ve also reached the highest point of the route at Falahill Summit.”
Councillor David Parker, leader of Scottish Borders Council, added: “Seeing the rails enter the Scottish Borders brings home the reality that trains will be running along the railway next September.
“The Scottish Borders is just months away from reaping the benefits of this investment that will encourage more visitors to our many attractions as well as boost the economic health of our towns and villages.”