Waverley Route: the life, death and rebirth of the Borders Railway
'Extremely well-researched, and elegantly written.' – Keith Aitken, Daily Express
'Marvellous' – David Parker, Scottish Borders Council
'[the Traffic Inspector] quickly burst the chain and wiring on the level crossing gates with a crowbar, but before the gates could be closed and secured across the roadway, about 40 villagers suddenly appeared and flung their weight against them and forcibly prevented further movement. Within a few minutes the crowd had doubled [forming a 'human barricade', according to the police dossier]; they jammed the gate lock and damaged gates, lifting off nearby hanging gates and jamming them against the level crossing gates, actively led by the local minister, Mr. Brydon Maben.'
Thus ran the opening paragraphs of British Rail's official account of the extraordinary events of the night of 5th / 6th January 1969, when community protests at Newcastleton station deep in the Scottish Borders blocked the passage of the very last train along the Waverley Route prior to its closure.
What was so important about this railway that drove hundreds of citizens to break the law, led by a Church of Scotland minister? Why was the railway allowed to close? Who or what should we 'blame' for its loss? And more positively, how has it come about that, after an absence of 45 years, trains will once again run in the Scottish Borders in 2014?
These are questions that have never before been researched and answered in detail. Waverley Route sets out to tell a story that says much about Britain's railways in the late 1960s, and about the opportunities created by devolution of power in the last years of the twentieth century to right one of the great wrongs of the old model of London-based transport policy.
Lavishly illustrated with numerous period and current photos never before published.
David Spaven is a rail consultant, a specialist railway writer, a geographer by background and a railway enthusiast since childhood.
The hardback is a pleasure for collectors. Case bound in cloth boards with blocking and with matching coloured endpapers and head and tail bands, it is a delight.
In addition to the paperback content it includes:
* an illustrated chapter on The First Century of the Waverley Route
* the transcript of an internal BR memo of late 1968 setting out the details of economy measures implemented along the route since 1963
* the transcript of the BR Area Manager's report on the incidents at Hawick and Newcastleton on the night of 5th / 6th January 1969
• a transcript of a timetable of freight trains from 1968
* two poems on the Waverley Route written by serving railwaymen.