© Geoff’s Rail Diaries 2013 The last time I was here, I had plenty of time to study the grassy hills to the east of the railway. The forests that were planted subsequently are now in the process of being harvested... It was the last day of the Waverley Route, and the rails had been greased - our Deltic made a very slow ascent to Whitrope. Today’s much shorter journey wouldn’t be much quicker... Whitrope Siding, with its accompanying signal box, was almost at the top of the long climb from the south, a couple of miles beyond Riccarton Junction and its isolated community. A few hundred yards beyond lies Whitrope tunnel, and the descent to Hawick in the Teviot valley. The Waverley Railway Heritage Association have established their Heritage Centre here, and have begun laying track. One day, trains may run again to Riccarton Junction; today we had to be content with a few hundred yards, as far as the “Golden Bridge” and back. As well as the short train ride (in 4-wheeled prototype railbus RB004, which I last met at the Telford Steam Railway, somewhat nearer home) there is much to look at here, even if the box is long gone. The Association have assembled an interesting selection of artifacts and photographs of the line, displayed in former main line coaches. Refreshments are available in the buffet car, which provides excellent (first class!) accommodation. The ambience is spot-on, even if it doesn’t move (yet). We continued our (road) journey northwards via Hawick and Galashiels. The A7 is a very slow road north of the latter - plenty of time to study the progress being made on the reinstatement of the railway from Tweedbank to Edinburgh (Waverley). There’s a lot going on - more than 30 access points for the contractors, signed from the main road. The former trackbed has been cleared of vegetation, ready for new ballast and rails. More substantial work in taking place where bridges (just a few) have gone, and the Edinburgh southern bypass has to be crossed. The line is due to reopen in 2015 - perhaps the rails at Whitrope will extend a bit further by then. We’ll be back... Links:  Waverley Railway Heritage Association Whitrope at the end (pictures by Bruce McCartney) Last Day of the Waverley Route (GRD previous visit) Borders railway (Waverley to Tweedbank) Artifacts. D60 "Lytham St Annes" hauled the last train Whitrope Siding A ride on the Waverley Route RB004 At Whitrope Siding RH 411319 of 1958