Love on the line

There was an unusual change of scenery on the Borders Railway construction site this weekend as Bruce Ball and his wife Louise from Roslin, Midlothian were granted special permission to complete a memorable walk along the former Waverley railway route.

Dr And Mrs Ball

With construction work on the Borders Railway about to begin, Dr Ball contacted the project team with the heart-warming story of a hindered attempt at a romantic proposal to his fiancé 28 years ago. In 1985, Dr Ball had planned to propose to Louise on top of the Lothianbridge viaduct in Newtongrange, but the path was blocked and he had to pop the question further along the line.

Still happily married after 27 years, Dr Ball contacted the Borders Railway project team to find out whether it would be possible for him to surprise his wife by completing the romantic stroll before construction work and operational trains made it impossible.  With a few safety measures in place, the date was set and on the morning of Saturday 23rd March, Dr and Mrs Ball enjoyed a cherished moment on the Borders Railway line. 

Bruce Ball said: “I like the symbolism of bridges and, in 1985 I wanted to propose to my now wife on the longest bridge on the Waverley Route, the Lothianbridge Viaduct. Unfortunately, we could not get access to it that day and I had to make do with proposing at the site of Hawthornden Junction. We then celebrated with coffee and digestive biscuits. This time around, I brought some champagne, but we still had a few biscuits.”

“Louise and I are so pleased to have been able to complete our walk, albeit 28 years later than planned. I thank Network Rail for helping me make it happen.”

Craig Bowman, Communications Manager at Network Rail said, “We’re happy to have been able to help Dr and Mrs Ball complete a memorable walk almost three decades on. Work to refurbish the viaduct will begin during the next few weeks, so this was really the last opportunity they would get to walk across. The viaduct is the most visually stunning example of railway architecture along the route and we’re looking forward to seeing it put back into use by 2015.”