REPAIRS to the Boleside Road footbridge are underway and it is anticipated that it will be safe for the public to use by early July.

The local authority closed the former railway structure, which carries a footpath across the former Selkirk Branch near Galashiels in the Scottish Borders in 2020 after raising concerns over its condition.

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The footbridge is held in high regard by those who have frequented it over the years, not least because of its fascinating backstory.

The Edinburgh and Hawick Railway was opened in 1849 by the North British Railway and formed the first part of the line from Edinburgh to Carlisle.

Peeblesshire News:

The railway through Galashiels was initially known as the Border union, but in 1862 it was officially named the Waverley line, to emphasise the connection with the celebrated novelist Sir Walter Scott, as nearby Abbotsford increased in popularity as a literary shrine.

In 1856 the branch line opened to Selkirk although this footbridge doesn’t show up on the map until 1930.

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It’s possible that a later footbridge was required at this location to improve access from the developing areas of housing to the east end of Abbotsford Road with the river for recreational purposes.

Peeblesshire News:

Due to the development of transport by road the Selkirk line was closed to passenger transport in 1951 and to goods in 1964, at which point the footbridge became redundant.

However, up until its recent closure, the public continued to make use of the structure as it spans the remaining embankments and links a late 20th century housing estate to the north west directly to those much-needed walks by the water.

The 14-week project is being undertaken by Balfour Beattie.