South Scotland

Train is named after rail campaigner Madge Elliot

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Media captionRail campaigner Madge Elliot was honoured at a ceremony at Waverley Station in Edinburgh

A woman who campaigned for the reopening of a railway in the Borders has had a train named in her honour.

Madge Elliot is renowned for her fight to save the Waverley Line, which ran between Edinburgh, Hawick and Carlisle, before it closed in the 1960s.

Just 95 days until the first passengers travel on the new Borders Railway, a locomotive bearing her name has been unveiled at Waverley Station.

From 6 September, the maintenance train is expected to appear on the new line.

During a campaign to keep a railway line in the Borders in the 1960s, Mrs Elliot collected a petition of 11,768 signatures.

With her 11-year-old son Kim, and Liberal MP David Steel, she delivered it to Prime Minister Harold Wilson at 10 Downing Street on 18 December 1968.

Since then the Hawick woman has actively campaigned for the re-opening of the line as a member of the Campaign for Borders Rail.

On 6 September, her work will finally bear fruit as rail services begin the new 30-mile track from Edinburgh to Tweedbank, near Galashiels.

Image copyright Bruce McCartney
Image caption Madge Elliot and MP David Steel presented a petition at 10 Downing Street in 1968

At the ceremony in Edinburgh, Mrs Elliot's son Kim said: "For as long as I can remember, the railway has been a passion for my parents, but for my mother in particular, and it's become a life-long interest for us all.

"We are delighted that, just days before trains start running on the railway once again, the project team has taken the opportunity to honour the role my mother played in re-establishing this link.

"It's a fitting tribute to her that the engine carrying her name has been used to build this railway and hopefully many more."

Infrastructure minister Keith Brown was also at the event to pay tribute to Mrs Elliot.

"We are now just a heartbeat away from seeing this historic railway come back to life, and that is undoubtedly in huge part thanks to the tireless campaigning work of Madge Elliot," he said.

"This is an incredibly exciting time for the rail industry, and for the communities up and down the new railway, and I am delighted that we have been able to share this with Madge and honour the work she has done over the years."

A giant artwork, created by design student Jane Flemming, was also unveiled near to the platforms to be used for many of the departures to the Borders.

Her work was selected from 80 entries by students at the Heriot-Watt School of Textiles and Design in Galashiels.

Image copyright Not Specified
Image caption Madge Elliot joined Transport Minister Stewart Stevenson at the start of the Borders Railway project in 2010

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