Borders to Edinburgh rail route main contractor agreed
Network Rail has appointed BAM Nuttall as main contractor for the delivery of the Borders railway in a £220m deal.
The contract includes detailed design and construction works for the route between Edinburgh and Tweedbank.
Network Rail said it would see about 500 jobs created between now and the 2015 deadline for reopening the line.
The railway will re-establish a passenger rail link for the first time in more than 40 years between the capital and the Scottish Borders.
The line will include 30 miles of new railway with three existing stations and seven new ones - at Shawfair, Eskbank, Newtongrange, Gorebridge, Stow, Galashiels and Tweedbank.
David Simpson, Network Rail route managing director for Scotland, said: "The appointment of BAM Nuttall as our main contractor signals the start of the delivery of the new railway for the communities it will serve.
"BAM Nuttall has already been working closely with Network Rail in drawing up initial designs for the new line and can now carry that momentum into the delivery of the main construction phase as we work to complete the new line for the start of services in 2015."
Stephen Fox, chief executive of Surrey-based BAM Nuttall, said it was "delighted" to be starting work for Network Rail.'Real benefits'
"This scheme brings together the engineering strengths of the BAM Group and will create significant local employment opportunities," he said.
"In addition it will provide a much-needed rail link to those rural communities living in the Scottish Borders region."
Network Rail officially took over responsibility for delivering the new route from Transport Scotland last month.
Transport Minister Keith Brown said: "This is a very exciting milestone for a community which has waited over 40 years for the return of the railway.
"They will soon begin to reap the very real benefits of this project in terms of investment to the area, increased tourism and improved accessibility to employment opportunities."