I CAN’T help but eagerly lean over the parapet and peer onto the railway every time I pass over the Victorian arch bridge near my home in Eskbank.

People may question why someone from Midlothian, whose village will be served by a station, would join the Campaign for Borders Rail six months before the line to Tweedbank opens to the public.

Well, I hope to be able to make this clear, and illustrate just how great the campaign is and how our work is just beginning after laying some solid foundations since the late 20th century.

I’m a Civil Engineer by trade and work in transport. Regardless, I was a keen enthusiast of trains as a young child and remember one Christmas eventually persuading my parents to move the car out the garage to accommodate my newly acquired train set.

Little did I know, almost a stone’s throw away from that garage lay dormant the remains of one of the most romantic railway lines to ever grace our land, only to be cruelly axed as part of the gravely unjust Beeching cuts.

Today, in my 20s, I have to confess I am not the train enthusiast I was as a young boy. But I am a big believer in the welfare of local communities and do love to travel by train, a luxury I never been able to enjoy on a local scale until this changes very soon.

So why my sudden revamp of passion for the railway and in particular, the Waverley Route, or as we now know it, the Borders Railway? Throughout its construction I kept a very keen eye on proceedings, occasionally attending presentations about the project hosted by my professional institution (Institution of Civil Engineers).

But in the spring of this year, I attended another in Edinburgh which was different, as it was here when the penny dropped.

The talk, given by Network Rail, summarised the engineering design, the challenges faced and the issues which had cropped up during construction when building the line. As a Civil Engineer, it was particularly fascinating, but it was when the presenter touched upon the rich history of the used-to-be Waverley Route, I suddenly became infatuated.

Those dramatic pictures of the line’s final days in January 1969; the coffin at Hawick station, the bagpipes at Riccarton Junction, the local minister at Newcastleton chaining himself to the level crossing accompanied by a mob of protestors, it gave me an insight I had never seen before. It almost made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up.

This wasn’t just a railway; it was so much more than that to the people of the Scottish Borders. This railway meant so much to the people. It was the lynchpin of its closely-knit communities. It was the spine of the Borders and this, taking with it its heart, was ruthlessly ripped away in 1969.

I realised, and felt as though I had to act. In life, we are all in some way guilty of holding the habit of waiting for someone else to act for us. Yet it is amazing what you can do if you stand up and be counted as the campaign has shown marvellously many a time over the last 16 years. I furiously began digging the internet to explore further this fascinating history of the Waverley Route.

For hours on end, I would enthusiastically uncover information I found fascinating. I eventually came across the website of Campaign for Borders Rail, and without hesitation knew I had to sign up to the cause.

During this time, I came across further material, most exciting of which the recently published Waverley Route by David Spaven which allowed me to answer so many questions – remarkably within six late evenings – and teach myself so much about the railway and its flawed and 'Penny wise Pound foolish’ politics of the 1960s, most notably executed on the Waverley Route.

On receiving my first member’s newsletter, I immediately began to make tracks with different figures within the campaign. I was surprised at the immensely positive reaction to this.

A few months on, and things are moving fairly fast and I’m delighted to be part of this quite simply fantastic grassroots campaign. The group is working tirelessly together to push the case for extension to Hawick and Carlisle as the line to Tweedbank opens. I have been given a fantastic opportunity to make a difference and give something back to society, with the intention of one day being able to help fully reverse that terrible injustice of 1969.

I was invited personally by our chairman for a face-to-face chat, and have since met some key members of the campaign’s steering group. Writing this is just one example of the opportunity this campaign provides for me to contribute. Subsequently, I am able to spread the message of our Campaign so that one day the prospect of extending the line back down to Carlisle becomes a reality.

I am assisting in the immediate case for the extension from Tweedbank to Hawick, and am helping to co-ordinate events to promote our campaign during the opening of the line to Tweedbank.

This campaign has done so many great things and I, along with many of the already dedicated and meticulous campaigners will double our efforts to ensure that this will continue towards the end of the line where our prize lies, in Carlisle.