South Scotland

Site work under way on Borders to Edinburgh rail route

Old railway bridge
Image caption Soil Mechanics is to carry out structural studies along the length of the Borders railway route

Site investigation works are starting on the £235m rail link project between Edinburgh and the Borders.

Soil Mechanics has been appointed by Scottish Borders Council on behalf of Transport Scotland to carry out ground and structural examinations.

The information will be used to help bidders for the rail construction project accurately estimate costs.

It is hoped the line running between Edinburgh and Tweedbank will be operational by 2014.

Transport Minister Keith Brown said the contract, estimated to be worth £600,000, would assist rail route bidders to "fully assess the work required".

"By bringing rail services back to the Borders line 40 years after it closed, we are demonstrating this Scottish government's commitment to the Borders railway as a key part of our programme of investment," he said.

"When finished, the railway will act as a catalyst for economic growth right across southern Scotland, supporting hundreds of jobs during its construction.

"It will also increase business development and housing opportunities across the region, whilst helping promote inward investment."

SBC leader David Parker said he was pleased "another element" of the construction was set to begin.

"Given the current economic situation facing the country the delivery of the Borders railway is a very welcome opportunity to boost the Borders economy," he said.

"I am in no doubt that its delivery will have a massively beneficial effect on the prosperity of the Scottish Borders."

Another programme of work is also due to get under way in the next few weeks.

Midlothian Council is to clear overgrown parts of the route in 11 rural areas along the line.

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