Making tracks in Midlothian on the Borders Railway

Map focusing on the Midlothian section of the new Borders Railway line
Map focusing on the Midlothian section of the new Borders Railway line

We continue our journey south down the Borders Railway line as construction work begins to show progress across Midlothian just over a year since it began.

Due to open in autumn 2015 the return of railway to the county after an absence of more than 40 years is expected to bring a huge boost to Midlothian with new housing developments springing up along the line, particularly around Newtongrange and Gorebridge which will each have a new station, putting the area on the commuter belt for Edinburgh.

Carrying on our journey from Shawfair to Fala along the Midlothian section of the new 30 mile £294 million railway, we ended up on the iconic Lothianbridge Viaduct.

Our guide on the tour, Network Rail communications manager Sarah Duignan, revealed that all the original structures along the old Waverly line have to be match up to 21st century safety regulations.

She said: “All of the old structures have to go through various checks and they have to all be brought up to modern safety standards.

“In some cases they have had to remove sections and replace them. So everything on the route is to modern standards.”

Moving down to the recently constructed Gore Glen Bridge near Gorebridge, Mrs Duignan was happy with how smoothly the huge job of construction went on this new part of the line over the busy A7.
She said: “We did a letter drop to all the residents, put adverts in the local newspapers and put up posters and tweeted about it.
“So we try and get the message out as far as we can. I think it worked really well.
“The bridge construction itself went smoothly so we were very pleased.”

The communications manager added that social networking has helped the project engage with local people along the route: “We have seen the numbers of followers on twitter definitely increasing and we are using it more for things like road closures and when big events are happening.
“It’s just another way of making sure people are as fully aware as they can be about the project.”

Heading to the end of Midlothian as far as the Borders Railway is concerned we arrive at Falahill, where the excavation and blasting operations are nearing completion. Approximately 145,000 tonnes of rock from the site has been recycled and is being used in the construction of the railway.

Read more on this story in the January 2 edition of the Midlothian Advertiser, out now.