Golden ticket day on the new Borders Railway
By Gala Water
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© Geoff’s Rail Diaries 2015
Geoff’s Rail Diaries
5 September 2015
It was hard to imagine that this day might come - the beginning of celebrations to mark the reopening, after 46 years, of part of the former Waverley route. It’s “Golden Ticket” day, with trains running for special ticket-holders only. I’m up in Edinburgh for a ride on the first train from Waverley tomorrow - today I’ll do some photography... The reopened part of the former main line from the Scottish capital to Carlisle is at the northern end - from Edinburgh to Tweedbank, just beyond Galashiels. There was never a station there - but there is space for a car park, it’s 20 minutes walk from Abbotsford and is close by the Borders General Hospital and a number of other facilities. It’s only a mile or so away from Melrose, but the railway route has disappeared beneath the bypass. A terminus at Galashiels could have been tricky... The line climbs steeply from Edinburgh, with lengthy stretches at 1 in 70 as it approaches the summit at Falahill. Beyond, it descends on easier gradients, in the valley of the Gala Water - in the company of the A7 and a minor road, which should make my task easier. My first sight of a
moving train was near Heriot - I almost had to pinch myself, to be sure I wasn’t dreaming. There seemed to be no shortage of trains running back and forth - RealtimeTrains indicated an average of four trains per hour should pass from mid-morning until late(ish) afternoon. I would miss the odd one as I drove between vantage points, but should see plenty of movements. I’m not absolutely certain how many trains were operating - there was a 6-car class 158 set, a 5-car 158/170 rake - and were there three 4-car 158 sets? I made my way down to Galashiels and back, enjoying the sunshine, the scenery and the passing trains. I paused for a photo at Fountainhall, where our special train stopped for the same reason on 5 January 1969 - the old station building still stands. After Tynehead (no, not beside the Gala Water) I headed back towards the city, pausing only to take a look at Newtongrange station. No sign of any trains - until I got back into the car... Another day perhaps. Links: Borders Railway Last Day of the Waverley Route First Day of the Waverley Route
Southbound near Heriot Southbound near Heriot Crossing the Gala Water - one of several old bridges Southbound through Fountainhall Borders Railway near Fountainhall Approaching Bowshank Approaching Bowshank Passing trains at Bowshank junction (end of a double track section) New underbridge near Bowshank Approaching Galashiels station... ...and unusually, not stopping Northbound, approaching Bowland Northbound, approaching Bowland Northbound near Bowshank Southbound near Bowshank Southbound near Stow By Gala Water Approaching Falahill from the north Southbound, approaching Falahill Northbound at Falahill Northbound at Falahill Southbound at Tynehead Northbound at Tynehead (beside the former siding)