Friday, September 04, 2015

Borders Railway

In a few day the Queen will formally open the Border Railways line, which will again see trains running from Edinburgh into the heart of Sir Walter Scott country.

The event kindles in me an absurd fantasy about making a return to my family's roots. After all, when he died in 1872 my great-great-grandfather owned shares in the North British Railway whose tracks for the legendary Waverley Line needed to cross land for which he was responsible as steward of an estate. I suspect that this holding was a sort of 'back-hander'!

The line was closed in the nineteen-fifties as a result of the Beeching reforms of Britain's railways, but resolute campaigners urging a resurrection of the service, supported by the bodies encouraging tourism in the lovely Border country, prevailed and again trains will cross the meadows at Kiln Knowe.

My fantasy? A move to nearby Galashiels, a pretty wee town. Served now by the new rail link it is less than an hour from Edinburgh. There is blazingly fast broadband available, and a one-bedroom flat can be bought for EUR 95 thousand, about the cost of a premium German SUV and around a quarter of the sot of a similar home here in Munich. Not that I can possibly expect to have the requisite financial resources. But the idea of being so close to Scotland's vibrant capital city, again accessible by train (important for one who has never driven a car!), does spur the imagination! 

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