10 September 2015
It was a day of great celebration in Scotland as Her Majesty The Queen performed the official opening of the new Borders Railway on the day she became the longest reigning monarch in Britain’s history.
To mark the occasion, the First Minister joined Her Majesty, His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh and 150 other guests on a very special train journey on a steam locomotive – the Union of South Africa – from Waverley Station, where a large crowd had gathered to see the train off on its journey.
After a brief stop in Newtongrange and a slow pass through Galashiels, the train arrived in Tweedbank, where Her Majesty was introduced by the First Minister, before saying a few words and unveiling a special plaque in front of the crowd and the world’s media.
During her introduction, the First Minister passed on her own congratulations to Her Majesty on the significant milestone she has reached. Addressing Her Majesty directly, the First Minister said:
I want to start by acknowledging the milestone which makes this a historic day for many people far beyond the Scottish Borders. Your Majesty today becomes the longest reigning monarch in Scottish and UK history. Throughout your reign – supported at all times by the Duke of Edinburgh – you have carried out your duties with dedication, wisdom and an exemplary sense of public service. As a result, you are admired and held in affection across the Commonwealth and around the world.
“The reception you have received today, demonstrates that that admiration and affection is certainly felt here in Scotland.”
The Borders Rail Project
The Borders Rail project, which was constructed on time and on budget, is the longest new domestic railway to be constructed in Britain for more than 100 years, and connects communities in the Borders and Midlothian to the rail network for the first time in more than 40 years.
The new railway line is the result of £300m of investment and the work of more than 1000 people. It involved building or repairing well over 100 bridges, and at 31 miles, it is the longest new domestic railway in Britain for more than a century.
The Borders Railway line will provide better connections for local businesses and residents and provides a connection from Edinburgh to the beauty of the Borders in less than an hour.
The First Minister said:
The Borders Railway line will help to generate prosperity and improve people’s quality of life. By doing so, it will bring major benefits for Midlothian and the Borders – and for Scotland as a whole.”