DEDICATED locals have restored a historic railway bridge in the Peeblesshire countryside to its former glory.

Volunteer groups rolled up their sleeves, grabbed their paint brushes and hiked up the Neidpath viaduct.

They rubbed down the 352 panels of railings on the Tweed Bridge before painting them – a job which has not been undertaken in almost a century.

Honouring the motto ‘Deeds not Words’, the Peebles Gutterbluids Society – along with the Callants’ Club and many friends – worked for over 200 hours to complete the project.

The bridge built over the River Tweed in 1864, was designed by local architect Robert Murray and is listed as one of the best examples of a skew arch construction in Scotland.

It saw its last steam train in 1954, but is a popular crossing for locals and visitors exploring the woodland that surrounds the River Tweed.

Member of the Callants’ Club John Falla, said: “We trust Mr Murray would be happy that local volunteers admire and care for his work some 150 years later.”

As well as painting, the weeds and saplings were cut back on the bridge and other maintenance is planned in the future.

“The work has been completed in a month, which shows the commitment and dedication of the volunteers.

“Age was no barrier with an 80-year-old turning out to help on many occasions.

“I am so grateful to everyone who had faith in this fantastic project, without their hard work it would not have been possible,” added John.

Thanks have been extended to Lady Elizabeth Benson for her permission to carry out the works, and to Forsyths in Peebles who, with the Gutterbluid Society, provided a picnic lunch.

Delighted with the result, John believes all that remains to be done is the erection of an information plaque so that everyone crossing the River Tweed can learn the bridge’s history.