PROJECT UPDATE - NOVEMBER

Track laying and the associate preparation work has been the project focus during the last month, with almost half of the rails now installed.  On Wednesday 5 November, the Borders Railway crossed into the Scottish Borders for the first time in 45 years. The rail installation machine is now continuing its journey along the line to Tweedbank.

To complete the track laying process, engineering trains are making their way down the newly installed rails. This involves delivering and discharging ballast (small stones), compacting and tidying the ballast, welding the rails and inspecting the entire route.

The engineering trains are slow and heavy and, on occasions, will be travelling early in the morning or late at night.  As these engineering trains are ‘moving work-sites’ it is impossible for the project to notify residents each time they will be in use.  However, the nature of their work means they are unlikely to be present outside a property for very long.

Following the completion of rail installation, expected before Christmas, the project will be completed in June 2015, with passenger trains starting on 6 September 2015.

Supporting works will also run in parallel. This includes activities such as vegetation management to ensure railway infrastructure is not obstructed and excessive leaves don’t hamper a train’s ability to brake and accelerate.

The team has also begun to install 15 railway communications masts which will allow the train drivers to talk to signallers, controllers and other railway managers.

Work on the new stations has also accelerated in recent weeks. Drainage, platforms, car parks and station ‘furniture’ such as CCTV cameras, lighting, waiting shelters and information systems, will be constructed and installed for June 2015.

Associated project works are also progressing as the new access road connecting the village of Fountainhall with the A7 was opened to motorists last week. The Winston Road bridge in Galashiels also opened this week with traffic management in place while the road surfacing is completed.  The team is also focusing on re-aligning Millerhill Road (A6106), connecting Millerhill with the Sheriffhall roundabout; this is set to open in spring next year. 

The project aims to complete the bulk of structures and major construction work in the run-up to Christmas, which means the number of HGVs and machinery should reduce in the New Year.

Keep up to date with the track laying process through our Twitter page @BordersRailway using #tracklaying or if you would like more information, please contact us at info@bordersrailway.co.uk.