Press Release 3 January 2019 : Commemoration of 50th anniversary of closure

Commemoration of 50th anniversary of closure.

Campaign for Borders Rail to commemorate closure of ‘Waverley Route’ and reaffirm lobby for extension of the Borders Railway, through Hawick to Carlisle

Photocall at Tweedbank Station Saturday, 5 January 2019, at 1335 (scheduled arrival time of special train commemorating last through working). Office bearers and supporters of the Campaign in attendance, retiring afterwards to the village of Stow for the launch of author David Spaven’s new book “Border Union Dream” on the early attempts to save the line from closure.

The Campaign for Borders Rail has today reaffirmed its resolve to see rail services restored through Hawick to Carlisle, as a driver for economic regeneration, business development and social inclusion. With the overwhelming success of the Borders Railway between Edinburgh and Tweedbank – the northern section of the former mainline – Campaigners are calling on both Holyrood and Westminster governments to rally behind the project to extend the line. By bringing communities throughout the Borders, in both Scotland and England, back on to the national rail network, it will provide the region with a tangible means to reverse the decades of economic decline, and allow those communities to thrive once again, and play a full part in the modern economic revival of both nations.

Simon Walton, chairman of the Campaign, says that there is growing recognition of the tangible part rail services can play in the regeneration of the Borders, and that the ambitions of the Campaign are closer than ever to being realised. “The phenomenal success of the Borders Railway is a clarion call to governments on both sides of the Border. Rail services work as a catalyst for economic development. Now, with the Campaign’s aims firmly on the agenda in both Holyrood and Westminster, and a cornerstone of the Borderlands Growth Initiative, it’s time to build on that success by committing to realising this vital new infrastructure through a beautiful but economically blighted part of the United Kingdom.”

The last scheduled services to run on the former ‘Waverley Route’ departed Edinburgh and London on 5 January 1969. These were overnight sleeper services of which the southbound train was famously blockaded at Newcastleton in the early hours of 6 January, in a show of widespread civic dismay at the loss of rail services.

However, with membership of the Campaign for Borders Rail now at an all-time high, and broad consensus across communities, business and government, Simon Walton says there’s more reason than ever for optimism. “We are closer than ever to seeing a new strategic cross-border rail link established, and the benefits of that will be felt keenly, not only in the region, but by the economy across the entire UK rail network.”

Notes to Editors:

The report Summary Case for a New Cross-Border Rail Link is available on request to: Simon Walton, phone 07540 313018 or email

Campaign for Borders Rail Onwards through Hawick to Carlisle 

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One thought on “Press Release 3 January 2019 : Commemoration of 50th anniversary of closure

  1. Michael Denholm says:

    To think that Ernest Marples, the then Minister of Transport who initiated the closures that included the Carlisle – Edinburgh ‘Waverley Route’ owned a motorway construction firm (Marples Ridgeway) – in his wife’s name – and was eventually caught fleeing the UK with suitcases full of cash in lieu of unpaid taxes and was not brought to justice! All power to those who campaign to re-instate Marples’ selfish vandalism.

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