Borders Railway Project (Interim)

Borders Railway Project

CEEQUAL Excellent (87%) – Interim Client & Design Award
Version 5, Jan 2014 | Galashields, Scotland

Client: Network Rail
Design: BAM Nuttall Ltd, Atkins, URS, Donaldson Associates
Construction: BAM Nuttall Ltd

Assessor: Lorraine Young (Network Rail)

Project summary

The Borders Railway Project involves reopening part of the former Waverley Line from Edinburgh to Tweedbank. The Waverley Line was closed in 1969 as part of a wider programme of cuts to British railways, and reopening this section of the route will be the longest new domestic railway to be constructed in Britain for over 100 years. The project involves 30 miles of new railway and seven stations, with a total construction cost of £294m. The project is expected to be completed in summer 2015.

The project supports the Scottish Government’s strategy of ensuring that transport connections are strengthened and made more reliable to maximise opportunities for employment, business, tourism and leisure. It will provide an essential passenger link from the Scottish Borders via Midlothian to Edinburgh and beyond, with a half-hourly peak time service and journey times of less than one hour.

The project is being delivered by Network Rail in partnership with Transport Scotland, with BAM Nuttall appointed as lead design and construction contractor. Atkins, URS and Donaldson Associates are undertaking key design roles.

Network Rail is committed to developing the railway network in a sustainable and environmentally responsible way, and chose to register the project for a Whole Project Award as a way to demonstrate how sustainability is embedded into the project processes. Targeting an ‘Excellent’ award from the outset has been one part of a wider Sustainability Deliver Plan aimed at delivering the scheme in a sustainable way.


Challenges faced

People and Communities

  • Compliance with Code of Construction Practice which restricts, for example, working hours and sets expectations for management of construction impacts on neighbours and the environment including noise and vibration limits, monitoring strategies and site housekeeping.
  • Extensive programme of community events, individual consultation with affected individuals and organisations, letter drops, project website and telephone helpline.

Historic Environment

  • Detailed Cultural Heritage Management Plan developed to identify and protect sites of potential interest, and to drive a process of standing building surveys, archaeological evaluations and watching briefs.
  • Specialist historic environment specialists employed to protect and restore historic structures such as the iconic Newbattle Viaduct, Glenesk Viaduct, and the rebuilding of historic drystone wall in the Heriot area.

Water Environment

  • Careful planning and execution of construction works to protect the Gala Water Special Area of Conservation (SAC), including mitigation for protected species including otter, salmon, lamprey and aquatic plants.
  • Detailed planning of track drainage and flood risk assessments to ensure the operational railway is protected. Incorporation of additional allowances for climate change to ensure long-term protection.
  • Detailed freshwater and groundwater monitoring plans in place, with overall approach and details agreed in advance with the regulator.


  • Project will encourage modal shift away from road, with associated benefits from reduced vehicle emissions, congestion and road safety.
  • Provision for cycle storage at stations.
  • A series of modelling and engineering optioneering exercises were carried out to harmonise the speed profile of the line, optimise the position of signal and communications equipment for maximum operational efficiency and the shortest possible journey times.

How did CEEQUAL influence your project?

The CEEQUAL process was an integral part of the procurement, design and construction of the project which served from the outset to set sustainability expectations, prompt the team to consider key environmental and sustainability variables and embed sustainability into the wider project strategy. The team has used CEEQUAL to steer its decision-making and its actions towards quality, sustainable, successful outcomes.

In particular, the process has helped the design team to focus on effective reuse of excess material within the design, and seek opportunities to minimise off site disposal. It has also driven the team to consider the selection of materials and the development of construction processes which align with the sustainability aspirations of the client and the project.

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