Waverley Line

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Waverley Line
Lothianbridge viaduct01 2000-05-28.jpg
Newbattle (or Lothianbridge) viaduct
Type Urban rail proposal
System National Rail
Status Disused, scheduled for partial re-opening
Locale Edinburgh, Midlothian & Borders, Scotland; Carlisle, England, UK
Termini Edinburgh Waverley
Opening 1849
Closed 1969 (under re-construction; partial re-opening 2015)
Owner Network Rail
Operator(s) Abellio ScotRail
Track gauge 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm)
Route map
Waverley Line 1969 en.png

The Waverley Line is an abandoned double track railway line in Great Britain that ran south from Edinburgh, through Midlothian and the Scottish Borders, to Carlisle. The line was built by the North British Railway Company; the stretch from Edinburgh to Hawick opened in 1849 and the remainder to Carlisle opened in 1862. The line was named after a series of novels by Sir Walter Scott.

Reconstruction work on the Edinburgh-Galashiels-Tweedbank section of the railway is under way; as of 2014 this part of the line is scheduled to reopen on 6 September 2015.[1][2]

Line characteristics[edit]

From Edinburgh Waverley, the climb started on the city outskirts, continued for several miles at a gradient of 1 in 70, with a summit at Falahill loop. It then descended at typically 1 in 150 to Galashiels, Melrose and St Boswells before reaching Hawick and climbing for 12 mi (19 km) at 1 in 80 through Stobs and Shankend to Whitrope Summit—the highest point on the line. After passing through Whitrope Tunnel, the line descended at an unbroken 1 in 75 for over 8 mi (13 km) through Riccarton Junction and Steele Road to Newcastleton, after which came less-steep gradients into Carlisle.[3][4]

Line closure and beyond[edit]

Cut off from Edinburgh to the north and Carlisle to the south, those lacking a car had no option but to travel by bus. As of 2014, the main bus service to Edinburgh takes more time than a Victorian steam train and double the time of a commuter train in 1968. Without the new Borders Railway, commuters can spend up to 90 minutes travelling between Galashiels and Edinburgh.[5]

Heritage activities[edit]

Riccarton Junction railway station in 2007

At Whitrope Siding, just short of Whitrope Tunnel 12 miles (19 km) south of Hawick, track panels have been relaid by the Waverley Route Heritage Association (WRHA) as part of the Border Union Railway (Whitrope) heritage railway. [6] This has since been extended from Whitrope Tunnel for about 0.8 miles (1,300 m). [7] A heritage centre has been built at Whitrope as part of the WRHA activities. [8] The Heritage Centre had two open days in July 2010, when it was officially opened by local MP and the new Secretary of State for Scotland Michael Moore and veteran Borders rail campaigner Madge Elliot, who led the campaign to save the Waverley Route in the late 1960s. [9] WRHA has a small shunter and has included cab rides with passenger trains, which ran from 2012—the first traction to move on the line since its closure.[6]

Line restoration[edit]

Site of Tynehead Station, 6 April 2013
Trees have been cut back as construction has started on the rebuilding of the Waverley Line. The station will not be reopened.

In June 2006, the Waverley Railway (Scotland) Act was passed by the Scottish Parliament by 114 votes to 1. It will reopen the line as far as Tweedbank, just south of Galashiels, and was given Royal Assent in July 2006.[10] £115 million has been allocated for the proposed route and services, which will extend an existing Edinburgh suburban service[11] from Newcraighall to Shawfair, Eskbank, Newtongrange, Gorebridge, Stow, Galashiels and Tweedbank.

On 27 March 2007, Transport Minister Nicol Stephen formally initiated preparatory works. Vegetation clearance took place for construction to begin in 2009 with the first trains due to run in 2011.[12][13] In August 2008, the opening was delayed. Tendering was scheduled to start in 2009 and continue until 2010, groundwork would begin in early 2011 and trains would be running by early 2013.[14][15] In November 2009, it was announced that the reopening would be delayed for another year.[16] On 3 March 2010, Transport Minister Stewart Stevenson turned the project's first sod in Galashiels. This and the beginning of ancillary works marked the official start of restoration, activated the Waverley Rail Act that allows the scheme to be built, and formally triggered a clause in the Act committing the Scottish Government to complete the scheme within five years.[17][18]

On 27 March 2010, it was announced that tendering was underway; three bids were received in June 2010.[19] The winning bids were to be announced in September 2011. The final cost was estimated at between £235 million and £295 million.[20] The tender process was scrapped on 29 September 2011 and the line will now be built by Network Rail.[21] Network Rail began work on the Edinburgh-Tweedbank section on 6 November 2012.[22] In 2012, the line was scheduled to reopen to passenger traffic in 2015.[23] In December 2012, BAM Nuttall, a subsidiary of the Dutch Royal BAM Group, was appointed to build the 30-mile (50 km) stretch of track from Edinburgh to Tweedbank. The budget has risen from £295 million to £348 million and up to 500 jobs are expected to be created.[24]

In 2011, a survey of Bowshanks tunnel north of Galashiels found that the site had become used as a temporary roost by Soprano pipistrelle and Mouse-eared bats. After agreement with and subsequent licensing from Scottish Natural Heritage, new wooden roosts were installed in trees either side of the tunnel and one-way flaps were installed inside the tunnel to allow the bats to leave before renovation work began.[25] In 2013, concerns that the project was no longer economically viable were raised because of the failure of a local property boom, which meant a large drop in projected passenger numbers. A business case by consultants Ernst & Young said the economic spin-off would amount to half of the return on the current estimated outlay of £350 million. Scottish Government agency Transport Scotland said the project remained on course to generate benefits of up to 30% greater than its costs.[26]

In April 2014, Alex Salmond said the Scottish government would consider reopening the entire length of the Waverley Line to Carlisle; he said, "the success of the 30-mile stretch to just south of Galashiels would 'calibrate' a feasibility study into rebuilding the remaining 70 miles".[27] Concerns about the feasibility of an extension have recently been raised by campaigners, who have criticised Transport Scotland for failing to 'future-proof' the route.[28] Track laying began in October 2014, with the final piece of relaid track being clipped into place at Tweedbank Station on 12 February 2015. The line is expected to reopen on 6 September 2015.[29]

References and notes[edit]

  1. ^ Network Rail Timetable, May 2015
  2. ^ "Borders Railway". Transport Scotland. Retrieved 2015-03-17. 
  3. ^ "Maps & Gradients | Waverley Route Heritage Association". Wrha.org.uk. Retrieved 2015-05-03. 
  4. ^ "Image of gradients on route" (JPG). Wrha2.files.wordpress.com. Retrieved 2015-05-03. 
  5. ^ "Blog and News Articles". Scotjobsnet.co.uk. Retrieved 2015-05-03. 
  6. ^ a b "Border Union Railway | Waverley Route Heritage Association". Wrha.org.uk. 2012-07-01. Retrieved 2015-05-03. 
  7. ^ "February Track Weekend | Waverley Route Heritage Association". Waverleyrouteha.wordpress.com. 2015-02-10. Retrieved 2015-05-03. 
  8. ^ "Whitrope Heritage Centre | Waverley Route Heritage Association". Wrha.org.uk. Retrieved 2015-05-03. 
  9. ^ "Open Weekend & Official Opening | Waverley Route Heritage Association". Waverleyrouteha.wordpress.com. Retrieved 2015-05-03. 
  10. ^ "UK | Scotland | South of Scotland | Borders railway link bill passed". News.bbc.co.uk. 2006-06-14. Retrieved 2015-05-03. 
  11. ^ Not to be confused with the former Edinburgh "suburban line".
  12. ^ "UK | Scotland | South of Scotland | Waverley line assessment starts". News.bbc.co.uk. 2007-03-27. Retrieved 2015-05-03. 
  13. ^ "UK | Scotland | South of Scotland | Protesters set sights on Holyrood". News.bbc.co.uk. 2006-05-18. Retrieved 2015-05-03. 
  14. ^ "'Defining moment' as government agency takes reins of Waverley Line". Thesouthernreporter.co.uk. Retrieved 2015-05-03. 
  15. ^ "UK | Scotland | South of Scotland | Timetable set for Borders railway". News.bbc.co.uk. 2008-08-06. Retrieved 2015-05-03. 
  16. ^ "UK | Scotland | South of Scotland | Rail reopening faces fresh delay". News.bbc.co.uk. 2009-11-03. Retrieved 2015-05-03. 
  17. ^ "Borders to Edinburgh rail link project gets under way". News.bbc.co.uk. 2010-03-04. Retrieved 2015-05-03. 
  18. ^ "Hopes rise in the Borders as work starts on rail link". Heraldscotland.com. 2010-03-04. Retrieved 2015-05-03. 
  19. ^ "Borders Railway moves closer to reality" (PDF). Railway Herald (228). 28 June 2010. p. 6. Retrieved 29 June 2010. 
  20. ^ "Scottish rebuild progress". Railway Gazette. 27 March 2010. Retrieved 29 June 2010. 
  21. ^ "Borders rail link tender process scrapped". BBC News. 29 September 2011. Retrieved 12 October 2011. 
  22. ^ Carrell, Severin (5 November 2012). "Scottish Borders boost as line shut in 1960s moves step closer to reopening". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 10 November 2012. 
  23. ^ Dalton, Alastair. "Borders railway completion date put back as cost of project soars". The Scotsman. Retrieved 10 November 2012. 
  24. ^ Henderson, Damien (14 December 2012). "Borders Railway builders appointed". The Herald. Retrieved 14 December 2012. 
  25. ^ "Bat flaps used to help clear Galashiels railway tunnel". BBC Scotland. 5 September 2013. Retrieved 5 September 2013. 
  26. ^ Dinwoodie, Robbie (2 March 2013). "Warning £350m rail link not economically viable". The Herald (Herald & Times Group). Retrieved 26 April 2013. 
  27. ^ Please enter your username (2014-04-25). "Alex Salmond may reopen Waverley rail link - Edinburgh Evening News". Edinburghnews.scotsman.com. Retrieved 2015-05-03. 
  28. ^ Alastair Dalton (2014-04-29). "Borders Railway cuts ‘could hold back development’". Scotsman.com. Retrieved 2015-05-03. 
  29. ^ "Borders to Edinburgh railway: Track laying gets under way". BBC News. BBC. 9 October 2014. Retrieved 12 October 2014. 

External links[edit]

External video
Network Rail - Borders Railway Construction