The new Borders Railway was opened by the Queen on the day that she became Britain’s longest serving monarch
September marked the re-opening of the railway line connecting the city of Edinburgh to the Scottish Borders. The new route is the longest section of domestic railway to be introduced in over 100 years, and marked a significant occasion for the people of the Borders.
The original line was closed in 1969 – prompting a number of campaigns to re-establish the link between the Border towns and the major city of Edinburgh. Works began in early 2013 to build the new line, with many local people working hard to bring the project to fruition.
Celebrations took place throughout the railway’s opening week, with a number of lucky travellers snapping up ‘golden tickets’ to ride the day before the line was publicly opened. The week was topped off with a royal opening by Her Majesty the Queen. Scotland’s First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, joining her for a traditional steam-powered journey along the route, stopping off at Newtongrange in Midlothian before carrying on to the new railway’s final stop, in the Borders town of Tweedbank.
The event took place on a particularly special day for the Queen; it was the day on which she became Britain’s longest-serving monarch. She takes the mantle from her great-great-grandmother Queen Victoria – who reigned for 23,226 days, 16 hours and 23 minutes according to calculations by Buckingham Palace.
Keith Brown, Cabinet Secretary for Infrastructure, said that it was a “great honour” that the Queen led celebrations, “it is fitting that these two such historic events coincide. This will be a double celebration, and we are also ensuring that the people who have campaigned, worked hard and shown such patience throughout this process are able to play a full part in the celebrations, with a separate day dedicated just to them.”
Though the Queen asked that no formal celebrations be organised for the event – instead arrangements are already being made for her next birthday – it was a truly historic day for both Her Majesty and the people of the Borders. Newmarket Holidays customers will be happy to know that the new line is set to feature on our new Durham, Edinburgh and Classic Railway Journeys break, available to book now.