Sixth year pupils from Falkirk High School have paid a visit to the site of the new Borders Railway, the longest domestic railway to be built in Britain in over 100 years, to learn more about the engineering feats behind the project.

The visit was part of a project being carried out by the pupils to design an optimal loop length for the Highland Main Line as part of the Engineering Education Scheme (EDT), the largest provider of STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) activities for 11-21 year olds across the UK.

Pupils Learn About The Signalling Of The New Line
As part of their visit to the Borders Railway site, the pupils, who are all planning to go on to study STEM subjects at university in September, met members of the project’s principal contractor, BAM and a Siemens signal tester who gave them an overview of signalling equipment for the new railway. 

Tommy Gallacher, senior project engineer, Network Rail, said: “The pupils have been working extremely hard in designing an optimal loop, which allow trains to pass one another, for the Highland Main Line, so we were delighted to invite them to visit the site to allow them to see the construction activity of a railway in action.

“The pupils were all very enthusiastic and we hope that their visit will go some way towards giving them a flavour of the role of an engineer on a project of this scale. We wish them the best of luck in their studies.”

Falkirk High School Pupils Learn About The Borders Railway

Garry Robertson, a teacher of Engineering Science and Technologies at Falkirk High School, accompanied the pupils on their site visit, said: “We are very grateful to Network Rail for allowing the pupils to visit the Borders Railway site, which provided the students with practical experience and direct involvement with engineers building a new railway.

“The visit brought the students’ studies to life, demonstrating how new skills can be applied in a work environment.

“The pupils had a fantastic experience in learning about the challenges that the team has overcome, especially in hearing about how they have worked with Victorian structures to ensure they meet modern standards.

“I’ve no doubt that the pupils will remember the visit for some time to come!”

Jayson Cheyne, a pupil from Falkirk High, who took part in the visit and will be going on to study Civil Engineering at either Strathclyde University or Edinburgh University in September, said: “When we’re sitting in the classroom, it can be difficult to picture exactly how the work we’re doing translates into a construction project, especially one like the new railway. The visit gave us great insight and we hope to use some of what we have learnt to inform our loop design.”