Once more we keep you up to date with developments in the north, courtesy of our Midlothian correspondent, Geoff…….
The Newcraighall turnback siding was relaid over the weekend and slewed into the new track we reported on last time. The horrible wee kink just off the points is gone, the existing signal on the siding has been angled to improve sighting coming round the curve and the bufferstop has been plonked at the new “head of steel”. Thus the first short stretch of the new Borders Railway (not the Waverley rebuild just yet) is complete courtesy of Network Rail, and the honour of first rail mounted vehicle on the new line fell to a humble Hydrex road/ rail excavator (I know we all really wanted to see those dastardly Claytons made to return to put the track back).
The new line has been laid with steel sleepers: whether or not the sucessful design/ build/ finance/ maintain contractor will continue with these all the way to Tweedbank remains to be seen, given their currently exorbitant cost. Will we see every last vaguely serviceable concrete sleeper scraped together from all corners of the UK, or will they have a complete break with the norm and go for something novel like French twin- blocks or even recycled plastic ones? Not Network Rail remember!!!
As usual, all photos are copyright Geoff Ruderham/ WHRA/ CBR