Midlothian celebrations for railway’s return

Local band Hip Operation
Local band Hip Operation

Four free community events will be held in Midlothian to celebrate the long-awaited opening of the Borders Railway on September 5.

The four events, which are being organised or supported by Midlothian Council, are at Edinburgh College’s campus in Dalkeith, the National Mining Museum Scotland in Newtongrange, Newton Village Green near Shawfair, and Birkenside Pavilion, Gorebridge.

The venues have been chosen due to their proximity to the four new Midlothian stations at Shawfair, Eskbank, Newtongrange and Gorebridge, where Golden Ticket winners will be leaving for special VIP trips on the new line.

Council Leader, Councillor Catherine Johnstone (SNP), said: “The Golden Ticket winners will all be welcome at each of the events as will every resident in Midlothian.

“We want to welcome the life-changing opportunities this railway will bring. What better way to do that than to kick off with four family-friendly parties? We want local people to remember this weekend for decades to come.”

At Birkenside Park, from 11am there will be drinks and light refreshments before the Gorebridge train leaves. Local band Hip Operation will be wowing the crowds along with the Lasswade Band ensemble. The event runs until 3.30pm.

Jim Fotheringham of Hip Operation said: “We’re really looking forward to playing. It will be a brilliant day.”

The National Mining Museum Scotland’s event lasts all day. There will be everything from a clown on stilts a to face painting, a DJ, a magic show, a miniature railway and performances by Newbattle High School band and dancers.

The Newton Village celebration kicks off at 11am and will run until 3.30pm. There will be bouncy castles, cheerleaders and dancers, with music provided by, among others, The Gus Ferguson Jazz Band and Dalkeith and Monktonhall Brass Band.

Edinburgh College’s event at its Midlothian Campus runs from 9.30am to 2.15pm. The Lasswade Concert Band will be providing the entertainment along with St David’s High Ceilidh Band, singer Callum Bertram with Fortune Sun, and young singing sensations Little Voices, Big Stars. You can drive the college’s fleet of electric cars, have a go on the popular smoothie bike or even “milk” a mechanical cow.

At each of the four events, a plaque will be unveiled to mark the opening of the Midlothian station.