Network Rail restores historic bridge at Rye Haugh Water as Borders Railway takes shape

A historic railway bridge at Rye Haugh Water, just north of Galashiels, has been restored by Network Rail using a 450-tonne crane as part of the development of the new Borders Railway.

The 450 Tonne Crane Gets Ready For Work

The bridge, referred to by the project team as ‘bridge 92’, once formed part of the abandoned Waverley Line that ran south from Edinburgh through the Scottish Borders. It has been out of use for 45 years and the original bridge deck was removed several years later.

Rye Haugh Water is the largest bridge to be restored along the southern part of the Waverley Line, and is being renovated as part of the Scottish Government’s investment in the new Borders Railway.

Rye Haugh Aerial

Works to the bridge have already seen the enormous crane, along with a 12-strong construction team, install four new beams, each weighing over 20 tonnes. The installation of the new beams was completed in just one day.

Prior to the installation of the beams, extensive restoration work had been undertaken to re-point and repair masonry work to the supporting bridge abutments. A second, final stage of works will take place at the end of October across two days to complete the structural development.

Hugh Wark, Network Rail project director, said:  “It is a really exciting challenge working with an older structure and although some elements of this particular bridge are over 150 years old, it’s really robust. While this is the first in a number of bridge works we are completing across the south of the line, it is also the largest. We have had to have special precast beams made to complete this work. 

“The team did a sterling job in completing the work in just one day, and already the new beams have helped bring the bridge to life once again.”

The new Borders Railway will include 30 miles of new passenger railway with 10 stops including 7 new stations, allowing passengers to travel direct from Tweedbank to Edinburgh Waverley. The expected journey time is just 55 minutes.

Over 200 bridges, consisting of brand new and restored over and under bridges, will help make up the new Borders Railway line once completed in summer 2015.

Should you have any queries about how the works might affect you, please call the Borders Railway helpline on 0845 604 4146, or email You can also follow progress on Twitter via @BordersRailway.