Posted by: wrha | January 29, 2012

Tree Clearance Heads South

This from Scottish Borders Council on 27/1/12:

De-vegetation work – new phase

Although legal and commercial agreements between Network Rail and Transport Scotland are still to be finalised, Network Rail’s contractor QTS will shortly resume outstanding de-vegetation work along the route. This includes the cycle paths at Eskbank, Galashiels and Tweedbank. Notification procedures for temporary path closures (if required) will be followed. Work will take place around the centreline of the future railway and de-vegetation undertaken on either side sufficient for construction and future operation. This work is due to be complete by the end of March to minimise the impact on wildlife. Planting will be provided once the railway is complete in accordance with project commitments.

Site clearance – Galashiels

Demolition of vacated buildings is due to start in February on the line of route at Langhaugh, Galashiels. Whilst many buildings here are relatively modern, the older stone buildings have been recorded as part of the archaeological survey. The whinstone facing material on these buildings is a distinctive, local feature. SBC, with the contractor, are making arrangements to salvage the stone for re-use on council maintenance schemes where matching local stone is often needed, and for other projects. The contractor will abide by the Project’s Code of Construction Practice in respect of working hours, practices and environmental protection and will be on site for up to 13 weeks, with main demolition taking around 4 weeks.

Archaeology and private water supplies – nearly complete

The project was required to investigate sites that could be of archaeological interest. No items of archaeological interest have been identified to date. The Project will complete a report that summarises the work and records items of historic interest such as older buildings to be removed for the railway works. Private water supply investigation works are complete apart from two sites.

Advance utility diversions – nearly complete

The diversions in the programme at Avenue Road in Dalkeith and at Stow Sewage Treatment Works are now complete. Two remaining sites to be tackled are at Gorebridge and Jenks Loan, Newtongrange.

Fencing of the line – not yet started

Our previous update referred to this work. Locations for the first permanent line-side fencing have been identified. Start on site is expected February/March. As with all UK railways, the entire railway will be fenced.

The removal of so many trees turns the clock back to how the line must have looked following track lifting in the 70s, and in the case of Fountainhall exposes the full extent of the straight once more, with the occupation bridge at the north end. Half close your eyes, add a little imagination and you can just see “Pinza” on the Down line straddling the crossing…….. 

Photos as always copyright Geoff Ruderham/ WRHA

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  1. Awesome!

  2. So far so good!

  3. Excellent to see actual on the ground preparation works for the long overdue re-instatement of this much missed and erroneously closed (in 1969)former main line railway that will bring numerous benefits including some inclusiveness to the less fortunate souls of Galashiels and its surrounding area.
    The folks at Hawick I hope will not have to wait too long before they too can benefit from a railway service again.
    How short sighted the UK was in the 1960’s & early ’70’s in closing this and similar lines.
    As another example of this; a high percentage of lines singled on the former BR WR in the 1970’s have been, or are planned to be, redoubled !

  4. I´m pleased to see that things are going on.

  5. On the photo that shows the Old Coal yard at Eskbank there was a line of trees directly in line with the right of the frame.
    There were taken down this week.
    At this rate it looks like a campervan and an internet connection.
    Further wee update; The Water main at Catcune is in the process of being moved as I post this.

  6. Gorebridge station site; Fushiebridge station right up to the cutting at Catcune farm has now all been cleared.

    • Pictuers taken and will pass them to “the uploader” once I get them off the camera.

  7. The dissused station in the photo really ought to be resored and kept, its haunting really. And shows how ill judged and short sighted it was to close the line. Now I think it would be over used to be fair. A usefull shortcut that frieght companies would have flocked to. If it had a link to the ECML as well then how ideal would it be. Imho I think that of course the line south should be built, And lets wish the folks at the Waverley Heritage group all our hopes and best wishes, Their work is amazing. But it would be probably very usefull indeed to restore that Ecml link!.
    I bet then things would be a lot different, God knows theA1 to the border is awfull. But then the powers that be within the M25 have always been tragically and instituationally short sighted!. Im from Yorkshire, Part welsh but lived in Scotland. Id come back in a heartbeat, But so good to see the Executive have a balanced view at supporting rail re-opening. Keep those pictures coming guys, Eskbank especially ;).
    Ps does anyone have photos of the other sites? Eg Stow etc. I spent a lot of time on the west coast but was very surprised as to how nice the borders are!

  8. Johnathon, give me time to get my box brownie out of the cupboard again,
    I still have Tynehead to photograph.
    The day I do that I’ll pop down to Stow and take a few snaps before the bulldozers start to rumble around September time.
    Once track building starts in ernest I’m hoping to take a great deal more, to keep folks appraised and obviously it is a fairly unique opportunity to record the rebuilding of this sorely missed line.
    This is not to overshadow what we are doing at Whitrope, but given the amount of money being thrown at this project they will catch up quite quickly, nice to know that we were first!

  9. Many thanks Geoff that would be great. I live close to an old line myself, The Axholme joint. There are a fair few structures still present. A few old railway stations. One at Belton with platforms and all.
    The York – Market Weighton – Hull line. Re-opening has been discussed but not much has happened. The latter is like the Waverley route, Another short sighted closure.
    So back tot he Waverley route, So they are starting now etc with the works?. or september?.

  10. Jonathan.

    If you contact the info@ site I’m sure you will be directed to my email if its Bridge and Structure info you are after.

    I started a engineering survey of the route in 2005 and although currently incomplete it still runs to some 200 structures and in the order off 1500+ photos.

    These aren’t necessarily for sale but do form part of our archive.
    If you have a specific structure of interest or indeed wish to view I’m sure for a donation to the cause it could be facilitated.

    We are very fortunate to have the archive of one of the protagonists of the BURC 1969 of just about everything you could wish for.

    Selected items of this will be available through our reborn BURC site shortly, again all going back into our rebirth at Whitrope.

    I hope this is of use and I only wish to add one thing…………

    If anyone wishes to travel on the Waverley route,
    There’s only one place you can and we were first!!!!


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