On Wednesday 9th September 2015, her majesty the Queen opened the Borders Railway – the longest new domestic railway to be built in the UK for over 100 years.
The Borders Project was a c£300m Network Rail project covering 30 miles of track, reconnecting Edinburgh with Tweedbank. It incorporated the building of four new stations in Midlothian and three in the Scottish Borders.
The new railway follows the route of the former Waverley Railway with the exception of four areas in Shawfair, Falahill, Bowbridge and Galashiels – where a new railway corridor was formed. This equates to approximately 90% of the former route being re-used.
Existing structures, cuttings, retaining walls and embankment slopes were re-used and refurbished where possible. Completion of this new railway now means that trains run every half an hour at peak times and journey times between Tweedbank and Edinburgh are less than one hour.
NCB’s involvement began with an initial meeting in December 2012, following which the Independent Assessment Plan (IAP) was published. A substantial number of NCB’s multi-discipline team of engineers were deployed on this project over its lifetime and MMRA (Mott Macdonald) supplied additional resource to support NCB.
Certificates of verification were issued for the Infrastructure subsystem (certifying compliance with the infrastructure TSI, PRM TSI, and the applicable NNTRs), and the trackside control-command and signalling subsystem in relation to the train detection system. We compiled the evidence to support this certification in an electronic technical file containing more than 4GB of information. This included the AB Safety Assessment Report (for CSM-RA compliance) and associated documentation, also produced by NCB.
This was one of the early projects requiring authorisation under the 2011 Railways (Interoperability) Regulations and assessment under the CSM-RA process. NCB was able to provide support and guidance to the project on the requirements and process.
NCB dedicated resource in Scotland to provide a local presence and work closely with the project team. This provided independent support to the project with certification discussions and to finalise the technical file with the ORR.
NCB was able to use its national expertise in assessing areas such as PRM TSI, and to work through the specific requirement for the control-command and signalling subsystem approval which was subject to special conditions specified by an interoperability “regulation 13” decision from the DfT.