Driver and conductor training begins on new Borders Railway

This week marks an important milestone in the Borders Railway project as ScotRail begins driver and conductor training on the new line.

To mark the occasion, Keith Brown, Cabinet Secretary for Infrastructure, Investment and Cities, visited the trainees in the nearly completed Tweedbank station.

An average of four return journeys will be made each day between Tweedbank and Newcraighall, and drivers will reach speeds of up to 90mph in preparation for the introduction of passenger services on Sunday 6 September.

A total of 64 drivers and 64 conductors are set to be trained on the route as part of a schedule lasting 12 weeks, which will see the first trains running in the Borders in more than 40 years.

Of this total number, 36 drivers and conductors were recruited especially for the Borders Railway, and were selected from a pool of more than 2,200 applicants.

Phil Verster, ScotRail Alliance managing director, said: “Like all of our staff, the team who will be trained on the route have already proved that they have the essential mix of experience, concentration skills and good attitude required to be successful train drivers and conductors.

“Twelve of the trainees are from the Borders themselves and understand how the return of rail services to the area will transform the local communities.

“This significant landmark brings us one step closer to the opening of the new line, something which is greatly anticipated by our staff and customers alike.”

Infrastructure Secretary Keith Brown 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.

“The commencement of the route training for the drivers is the final milestone in the preparation and 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.”

Driver Training 1

Keith Brown, Cabinet Secretary for Infrastructure, Investment and Cities, visited the trainees in the nearly completed Tweedbank station.

Driver Training 2

 Keith Brown inside one of the training carriages.