South Scotland

Timeline: Borders to Edinburgh railway

Train on Waverley line
Image caption Services to the Scottish Borders stopped when the Waverley line closed

A deal has been agreed between Transport Scotland and Network Rail to build a rail link between Edinburgh and Tweedbank.

The project will see trains return to the Borders for the first time in more than four decades.

Here, the BBC Scotland news website looks back on the major events in a journey which has been trundling along for many years.

January 1999

The Campaign for Borders Rail is formally launched at a Burns Supper in Melrose Station.

It subsequently gathers thousands of signatures on a petition pressing for a route to the region to be reopened.

15 February 2000

An independent study concludes that the reopening of the Borders rail link could be financially viable.

At a meeting in Newtown St Boswells, Transport Minister Sarah Boyack says the way is now clear to develop a funding proposal for a project estimated to cost £100m.

1 June 2000

The Scottish Parliament debates the re-establishment of the former Borders railway link between Edinburgh and Carlisle.

Campaigners maintain the reopening would be a huge economic boost for the area.

24 March 2003

Image caption A rail line used to run from Edinburgh to Carlisle via the Scottish Borders

The group behind efforts to reopen a railway to the Borders unveils a study which suggests the link could generate millions of pounds.

The Waverley Railway Partnership says its research indicates that the rail link would generate a minimum of £4.1m in its first year.

The study also estimates that about 5,000 daily journeys would be made in that first year.

The group predicts the development would lead to £130m of housing investment in the Borders and Midlothian.

It estimates the total cost of the project at between £125m and £130m, following a detailed technical assessment of the route.

6 January 2005

Campaigners hold a rally calling for the Borders rail link to be reopened.

The event marks the 36th anniversary of the closure of the line, which ran from Edinburgh, through the Borders and on to Carlisle.

Anne Borthwick, of Campaign for Borders Rail, says reopening the route would restore the area's prosperity.

22 July 2005

Plans to reopen the rail line in the Borders are given the green light by a Holyrood committee.

The majority of MSPs on the Waverley Railway Bill Committee support the case for re-establishing a route between Edinburgh and Galashiels.

The Borders rail link to Galashiels and Tweedbank needs approval from the full parliament in order for it to reopen.

Committee convener Trisha Marwick says there is "a strong social case" for the rail line.

14 June 2006

Image caption The old route ceased to be used by trains in 1969

MSPs approve the bill to restore the Borders rail link between Edinburgh and Tweedbank near Galashiels.

Work on the £155m project is expected to start shortly and the line is scheduled to open in 2011.

An attempt to have the 35-mile (56 km) line built in stages is overwhelmingly rejected by MSPs.

Critics accuse Labour MSP Bristow Muldoon of a wrecking manoeuvre, which would have resulted in the line going no further than Midlothian.

MSPs support the Waverley Railway (Scotland) Bill by 114 votes to one, with one abstention.

27 March 2007

Work starts to examine the condition of the proposed route for the £155m reopening of the line.

The 35-mile route from Edinburgh to Tweedbank in the Scottish Borders is to be fully assessed in order to allow construction work to start in 2008.

Deputy First Minister Nicol Stephen is in the Borders to launch the latest stage of the project.

He also announces that authority for the scheme is passing to the transport agency Transport Scotland.

5 March 2008

The new rail line between Edinburgh and the Borders could cost more than twice the original estimate, it emerges.

Transport Minister Stewart Stevenson also confirms that the project's completion date has slipped from 2011 to 2013.

A non-profit making company will be set up to pay for the bulk of the costs - a move criticised by Labour.

Mr Stevenson says the original date put forward was "never achievable", given the decisions taken on the project by the previous Holyrood government.

The capital costs of the railway, between £235m and £295m, are to be funded by a "non-profit distributing vehicle" (NPD), meaning the cash will be borrowed from the financial markets.

4 March 2010

Image caption Stewart Stevenson was in the Borders to mark the official start of the project

The project to reopen a rail line between Edinburgh and the Scottish Borders is officially started.

Transport Minister Stewart Stevenson cuts the first sod in Galashiels and activates the act of parliament which allows the scheme to be built.

He says the railway could be a catalyst for economic growth right across the south of Scotland.

Lib Dem MSP Jeremy Purvis says it is a "positive move" but hopes construction work can be speeded up.

21 June 2010

Image caption There was said to be "strong interest" in the project to reopen the route

Three organisations are selected to submit tenders for the multi-million pound rail link project between Edinburgh and the Borders.

The BAM, IMCD and New Borders Railway bids include a wide range of financial and construction companies.

Finance Secretary John Swinney says he is encouraged by the "strong UK and European interest" in the project.

The target is to complete the line between Edinburgh and Tweedbank in the Borders in 2014.

9 November 2010

Transport Scotland says plans to reopen a rail link between the Borders and Edinburgh are "on track" despite the withdrawal of a member of one of the groups bidding for the contract.

Concerns had been raised following the news that American firm Fluor was no longer seeking to be part of the project.

A spokeswoman says the company was part of one of three bidders for the £230m construction scheme.

16 June 2011

First Minister Alex Salmond says the Borders to Edinburgh rail scheme will go ahead, despite one of the firms bidding to build the line dropping out.

Construction company Carillion confirms it has abandoned one of the bids for the scheme.

However, Mr Salmond says changes to consortia during the procurement process are "not uncommon".

29 September 2011

The Scottish government scraps its plan to get a private company to build the new Borders railway, due to a lack of interest.

Transport Minister Keith Brown says the £295m project will now be taken forward with Network Rail.

The move comes after several consortia dropped out of the competition for commercial reasons.

Ministers said the 35-mile (56km) line from Edinburgh to Tweedbank was still on course to open in December 2014.

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