CAMPAIGNERS used the 50th anniversary of the Waverley Line's closure on Saturday to push for the entire route to be reopened.

A Class 50 diesel locomotive marked the anniversary of the closure on January 5, 1969 with a the journey from Edinburgh's Waverley Station to the Tweedbank terminus.

Around 400 passengers enjoyed the return trip while dozens of other railway enthusiasts lined the platforms to take photographs.

But Saturday's jaunt down memory lane also provided an opportunity for campaigners to strengthen their claims for the entire 98-mile line to be reopened all the way to Carlisle.

Simon Walton, chairman of the Campaign for Borders Rail, told us: “The phenomenal success of the Borders Railway is a clarion call to governments on both sides of the Border.

"Rail services work as a catalyst for economic development.

"Now, with the Campaign’s aims firmly on the agenda in both Holyrood and Westminster, and a cornerstone of the Borderlands Growth Initiative, it’s time to build on that success by committing to realising this vital new infrastructure through a beautiful but economically blighted part of the United Kingdom.”

The last scheduled services to run on the former Waverley Line, which had opened in stages between 1849 and 1862, departed Edinburgh for London on January 5, 1969.

The overnight sleeper service was famously blockaded at Newcastleton in the early hours of January 6, in a show of widespread civic dismay.

The Waverley Line was one of dozens of routes which were shelved following a report by Richard Beeching which called for reduction and restructuring of railways in Britain.

Opposition to the loss of the line from Edinburgh to Carlisle never diminished.

And in September 2015, following decades of campaigning and lobbying, trains began running again on part of the former route from Edinburgh to Tweedbank.

In the three years since the Her Majesty The Queen cut the ribbon at Tweedbank, passenger numbers have exceeded all expectations.

Continued pressure on the governments at Holyrood and Westminster, spearheaded by the Campaign for Borders Rail, has led to encouraging signs for the rest of the route to be re-opened.

Many post-holders and supporters of the group attended Saturday's historic trip by the diesel locomotive.

Mr Walton added: “We are closer than ever to seeing a new strategic cross-border rail link established, and the benefits of that will be felt keenly, not only in the region, but by the economy across the entire UK rail network.”