Midlothian MSP takes a trip on new railway

MSP Christine Grahame on a journey along the Borders Railway
MSP Christine Grahame on a journey along the Borders Railway

Midlothian South MSP Christine Grahame recently joined Holyrood colleagues on a journey along the soon to be reopened Borders Railway.

Track laying for the new line was completed earlier this year, and trains are currently running the full length of the line, which is due to open to the public in September.

Ms Grahame (SNP), who formed the cross party group on the Borders Railway was delighted to be a passenger from Tweedbank to Newcraighall on this special trip for the Scottish Parliament’s Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee.

She said: “As someone who has campaigned for the return of the Waverley Line since 1999, it was an absolute privilege to be have finally travelled the length of the journey by rail, and to appreciate our wonderful countryside from a new perspective.

“So far this project has been an overwhelming success. Despite a few teething issues during the construction period and the overpriced tickets debacle recently, which has now been resolved, we are on track to see regular passenger services on the line from September this year.

“If my experience is anything to go by, this will undoubtedly bring many, many visitors to Midlothian and the Borders as well as encouraging people to stay and live in the area.”

Driver and conductor route training started on the line on June 15. Sixty-four drivers and 64 conductors will be trained on the route over 12 weeks. Eighteen drivers and 18 conductors were recruited specifically for the Borders Railway, with more than 2,200 applicants

Infrastructure Secretary Keith Brown (SNP) said: “It’s been a journey of almost half a century, but we are now finally seeing ScotRail trains making their way along the Borders Railway route.

“I met with these trainee drivers during their classroom-based training in November 2013 and they told me then how excited they were at becoming a part of history by taking the controls of these long-awaited trains.

“That dream is now a reality, as the reopening of the route will be for so many in the communities of Midlothian and the Borders, as well as Edinburgh.

“In just a few short months we will begin to realise all the economic, social and environmental benefits that will then be opened up by the new Borders Railway.”