The new Borders Railway
First Day of the Waverley Route
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© Geoff’s Rail Diaries 2015
Geoff’s Rail Diaries
6 September 2015
The first public train from Edinburgh to Galashiels and Tweedbank would be the 9.11am from Waverley, Sunday 6th September. I bought my ticket well in advance - I had to be on it, hadn’t I? I had travelled the line on the day it closed - 5 January 1969. Our special from Leeds was the last train to travel the whole line northbound - a service train followed ours from Hawick northwards. “I was on it from Galashiels”, my companion explained. Not someone I knew - we met in the queue at Waverley (thanks for your company, Robin). Like mine, his journey was a “must-do-it”. I’d joined that queue more than an hour before departure, facing a long wait, but time went quickly in the carnival-like atmosphere. I’d half-expected the train to be jam-packed, but in the event there were some spare seats (six-car 170) - and as I looked around, I realised that most of the passengers had probably travelled over the line previously. The under-46s would perhaps travel later. In recent years, I’ve spent a great deal of time studying and showing photographs of the old Waverley - they didn’t help much! Other than very obvious features like the Newbattle viaduct at Lothianbridge, and the new concrete viaduct over the A7 nearby, there are few visible objects that featured in those old photos. The station building remains at Gorebridge, but there’s no sign of that towering signal box at Hardengreen, or the junction there for the Peebles loop. The mile or so through
Shawfair is on a completely new formation, needed to get the line under the Edinburgh southern bypass. From Tynehead, however, the ground is a little more familiar - feels like only yesterday that I was last here... As we follow the Gala Water southwards, the on-train announcement (an English voice) tells us that the “next station stop will be Stow” (rhyming with snow). In unison, my fellow travellers call out “Stow!” (rhyming with plough) A little under an hour after leaving Waverley, we’re in Tweedbank (aka “Bruach Thuaidh” - though I don’t think there are many Gaelic speakers down here) - and once again, there’s a happy atmosphere. There’s time for a few photos before rejoining the train from the return trip - we’ll sit at the other side and enjoy a different view on this glorious sunny day. There are a few formidable obstacles along the first mile or two beyond Tweedbank - the route has been utilised for the Melrose bypass. Otherwise, the trackbed to Hawick appears to be more- or-less intact. I won’t be holding my breath, but wouldn’t it be great if, one day, I can buy a return to Hawick? Links: Last Day of the Waverley Route By Gala Water Borders Railway
 Queue Platform 7 for Hawick Driver of the first public train to Galashiels - fifteen minutes of fame Arrival Sunny Tweedbank... ...aka Bruach Thuaidh Back to Edinburgh Waverley Borders Railway We're back Next train to Tweedbank 12.11 to Tweedbank Now unwrapped!