Michael Williams

Thrilled to be on inaugural train on Britain’s first new domestic main line for over a century

September 1, 2015 Blog

THIS week I’m privileged to be among the passengers on Britain’s first new domestic main line for a century – rolling through the delightful scenery of the Scottish Borders. I’ve written the story of the line in my new book The Trains Now Departed: Sixteen excursions into the lost delights of Britain’s railways http://bit.ly/1r1FrBy. It’s a wonderful story of demise and rebirth. Here’s an extract, with one of the delightful illustrations by Mai Osawa…

Mai CH16 copy

‘For many, the Edinburgh to Carlisle line was not just a railway, but a symbol the greatness, passion and romance of the Border Country, with its massive castles, grand houses, rolling hills and rivers, a world-famous wool and textile industry, and scored with the history of conflict between two nations. This was a battle that continued to be played out between London and Edinburgh as one of Scotland’s most emblematic railways was brought low by the political machinations of the 1960s.

While the arguments about why it happened have raged over the years, the end of the Waverley line was certainly the most traumatic, the most bitterly fought and by wide agreement the most socially damaging of any closure in British railway history. Romantic in every sense, taking its name from the Waverley novels of Sir Walter Scott, and stamping ground of the eponymous London to Scotland express train The Waverley, this double track railway over the steep moorland gradients of the Borders has perhaps the ultimate place in the pantheon The Trains Now Departed.’


September 1, 2015 Blog

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