Waverley Line

Waverley Line

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Waverley Line

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The Waverley Line is an abandoned double track railway line that ran south from Edinburgh in Scotland through Midlothian and the Scottish Borders to Carlisle in England. It was built by the North British Railway Company; the first section, from Edinburgh to Hawick opened in 1849. The final section, Hawick to Carlisle, opened in 1862. It was named the Waverley route after the novel by Sir Walter Scott. Reconstruction work of the Edinburgh-Galashiels-Tweedbank section was scheduled to begin in 2008, but is now anticipated for 2011.

Line characteristics

The route was famous for its significant gradients and bleak moorland terrain, which made it arguably the most difficult line in the UK for steam locomotive crews to work over. From Edinburgh Waverley the climb started on the city outskirts, continuing for several miles at 1 in 80 with a summit at Falahill loop. It then descended at a similar rate to Galashiels, Melrose and St Boswells before reaching Hawick and ascending for twelve miles at 1 in 80 again through Stobs and Shankend to Whitrope Summit, the highest point on the line. Following Whitrope Tunnel, the line descended at an unbroken 1 in 75 for over 8 miles through Riccarton Junction and Steele Road to Newcastleton, following which were easier gradients to Carlisle.

Historic exploration

As the line was built by the North British Railway, it fell under the jurisdiction of the London and North Eastern Railway (LNER) at the Grouping in 1923. However the two expresses...
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