The Railway Magazine

To Hawick and beyond – the Borders Railway five years on

Even as Her Majesty the Queen officially opened the new Borders Railway on September 9, 2015, there were still those who said it would be a white elephant, a complete waste of money and could well be closed within a year. How wrong they were proved to be.

Taking just two years to build at a cost of £350 million, the 30 miles of relaid trackwork once again echoed to the sounds of trains, the Border communities it passed through connected once again by rail to Scotland’s capital Edinburgh.

Just as the original Victorian railway opened-up the isolated towns and villages of southern Scotland, so the re-opened line has had the same effect. Tourist attractions and businesses all reported significant increased footfall. Passenger numbers have far exceeded expectations with 6.67 million journeys recorded to a pre-Covid September 2019. House building has seen new properties along the length of the line being proposed, started, or completed with developments underway near Shawfair, Gorebridge, Galashiels and Tweedbank. In many ways, the new line has been too successful!

Initially served by mainly two-car Class 158 units, doubling to four cars during the morning and evening peaks, overcrowding resulted in delays and cancellations. However, the introduction of former Great Western HST sets

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