TRACK laying on the 30-mile Borders Railway will be completed in two months’ time, Network Rail announced today.
A ceremony was held at Shawfair station to mark the official start of this phase of work on the £353 million project, ahead of the line opening next September.
Main track laying is now under way after the installation of special sections, including at junctions and in tunnels, began in August.
A machine will lay 1km of track a day onto 90,000 sleepers along the route.
Network Rail chief executive Mark Carne, who joined transport minister Keith Brown for the event, said: “By the end of the year, rails will connect seven stations along the route to the national network for the first time in 45 years.”
Construction firm BAM is building the line for Network Rail at a cost of £294m, with the remaining £60m going on land purchase, preparation work and delay costs.
The project is running some four years late and its original budget estimates have rocketed.
The scheme is the longest new railway in Britain apart from High Speed One - the Channel Tunnel Rail Link - for more than 100 years.
It will reconnect Edinburgh with Tweedbank, south of Galashiels, for the first time in 45 years after the Waverley Line to Carlisle was closed as part of the Beeching cuts in 1969.
Mr Brown said: “With construction due to complete next summer and the line to enter service on 6 September, the new railway will offer a fast and efficient alternative to the congested local road network, allowing passengers to travel from Tweedbank to Edinburgh in around an hour at peak times.“
Remaining work includes signalling, and construction of the stations at Shawfair, Eskbank, Newtongrange, Gorebridge, Stow, Galashiels and Tweedbank.