In the early 19th century, waggonways carrying coal were active in the Lothians and engineers began to take an interest in lines to the Scottish Borders. The Waverley Route’s origins date from the 1840s when the Edinburgh & Hawick Railway, a branch of the North British Railway, began. The company soon had a monopoly in the Central Borders with branches to serve its burghs. The effects of the railways on the Borders – its countryside, industries, communities and leisure time were profound and are considered in this book.
The North British Railway also had a long standing ambition to reach Carlisle. This was achieved by means of the Waverley Route from Hawick. This survived as a secondary main line until the last passenger train ran in 1969. Closure came as a
consequence of the Beeching Report (1963). Despite attempts to save the route, only in 2006 was the prospect assured of a line returning to its northern portion – the new Borders Railway.