Borders railway marks one year of construction

Borders Railway construction works mark their one year anniversary, with just over a year of construction remaining until the project delivery phase is completed in summer 2015.

In the year since construction of the new Borders Railway began, 866 directly employed staff have worked 2.1 million hours, completing 44% of the work on the 30mile long route.

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Work on the A720 Edinburgh City Bypass

Including supplier personnel indirectly employed by the project, the total number of project jobs is in excess of 1,100, with local people and suppliers the primary beneficiaries.

Among their achievements in the last year, those workers have:

  • Moved 804,000 tonnes of earth
  • Used 400 tonnes of grouting as part of mining remediation work
  • Installed 25.6 km of drainage works
  • Worked on 104 bridges including 12 footbridges, 39 overbridges and 53 underbridges
  • Installed 22,800 m³ of gabion baskets to support embankments and cuttings

Since the start of the project, Network Rail and principal contractor BAM have also actively engaged with over 3,000 members of the local communities along the line of the route at local events and community meetings. They have also responded to 1,500 specific enquiries and reached over 140,000 unique visitors via the project website.

Keeping the project team fuelled has been a logistical challenge in itself and an estimated 25,000 bacon rolls from local caterers have helped to keep construction crews energised.

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Installation of bridge at Hardengreen roundabout

Transport Minister, Keith Brown, said:

“It is almost hard to believe that only a year has passed since I marked the beginning of construction of the Borders Railway. Network Rail and BAM should be applauded for the progress they have made to get us to this stage.

“That we will soon see this service reintroduced is a huge achievement for all the partners involved and is an extremely exciting prospect for those people living all up and down the route who will feel the benefits in terms of their increased access to jobs and social opportunities, as well as the boost to tourism and investment and likely regeneration in these areas.

“We can now look forward to the year ahead knowing that we are working apace to bring the Borders Railway to life.”

Hugh Wark, project director, Network Rail said: “We have achieved a lot over the past year and, one year on, it’s good to take stock of how far we’ve come in such a short time. The entire team has done a fantastic job in getting to this stage, but our focus continues to be on the key milestones that will see this railway built by summer 2015.

“By the end of this summer, the bulk of the structures and earthworks will be complete, and we’ll be looking forward to laying the railway track along the route.”

Nissar Mohammed, project director, BAM said: “We have already overcome some of the biggest challenges on this project and would like to thank everyone who, between them, have spent over two million hours getting to this point. In particular, we appreciate the patience and cooperation of local residents and road users.”

Key Milestones since April 2013:

  • April 2013 Earth works begin in Shawfair. Mining remediation works at Eskbank & Newtongrange to prepare for railway
  • June 2013 Work begins on the restoration of Lothianbridge Viaduct
  • July 2013 Start of excavation to allow construction of new Shawfair and Tweedbank stations
  • Aug 2013 Temporary carriageway opens on the Edinburgh city bypass to allow a new bridge to be constructed which will carry the A720 over the railway
  • Sept 2013 Closure of Winston Road, Galashiels for excavation to allow a new road bridge to be built over the railway
  • Oct 2013 Restoration of historic bridge at Ryehaugh water north of Galashiels
  • Nov 2013 Completion of main construction work on Gore Glen bridge
  • Jan 2014 Refurbishment of Torwoodlee and Bowshank tunnels – the two tunnels along the line of the route
  • Feb 2014 Installation of the project’s longest new bridge at Hardengreen
  • Mar 2014 Work begins at Falahill to build a new road bridge to carry the A7 over the railway
  • May 2014 Installation of rail bridge over Wheatlands Road