Elizabeth II dedicates Britain's longest rail line in a century

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Ex-London & North Eastern Railway 4-6-2 Pacific-type Union of South Africa pulled a royal train carrying the United Kingdom's Queen Elizabeth II for a grand reopening of a line in Scotland on Wednesday.
Kenneth Williamson
LONDON — The United Kingdom's Queen Elizabeth II made history on two fronts Wednesday although the world's media paid more attention to her royal tenure than to the new railway line that brought her to a Scottish village.

"It has been wonderful to witness the excitement which the return of the railway has brought here," Queen Elizabeth II said before dedicating a plaque at the station in Newtongrange in the Scottish Borders district. "The Borders Railway brings so much promise for sharing and invigorating this most beautiful countryside as a place to work, live and enjoy."

The approximately $451 million project links Waverly station in Edinburgh, Scotland, with Tweedbank, 30 miles to the southeast. It is the biggest railway construction project in the United Kingdom in more than 100 years, according to the railway operated by ScotRail, and generally follows the route of the Waverly Railway that closed in 1969.

The Queen and Prince Phillip, who had been staying at the royal residence of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh, arrived at the dedication ceremony in a special steam-powered train pulled by 4-6-2 No. 60009, the Union of South Africa. That locomotive was built in 1937 for the London & North Eastern Railway. The green-liveried locomotive is now owned by The Railway Touring Company.

Wednesday also marked the day the Queen became the longest-serving monarch in British history at 63 years and 216 days, surpassing the record of her great-great-grandmother Queen Victoria.

NEWSWIRETrains News Wire

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