Rarely has the Borders had a campaigner as tenacious as Madge Elliot.
It was way back in 1968 when she hand-delivered a petition to then Prime Minister Harold Wilson in a bid keep the 98-mile long Edinburgh- Carlisle Waverley railway route open. But it closed just a few weeks later – victim of the Beeching Axe.
Since then she has been in the vanguard of efforts to have the line reopened and the return of services to the central Borders in September represents at least a partial victory for Madge and her fellow campaigners.
Last Sunday, Madge, now in her late eighties, and her family were given the honour of a trip on the Tweedbank-Edinburgh line. Her tremendous efforts have also been rewarded with a locomotive being named after her and the MBE – and surely nobody would complain if more recognition came further down the line.
Now the focus must be on – what many see as finishing the job – extending the railway to Madge’s native Hawick and on to Carlisle. If it happens, it won’t be tomorrow, next year – maybe not even next decade.
But getting the restoration of the Waverley route up and running is a tremendous legacy to leave.
Madge, we salute you – it’s now time to let the train take the strain.