Thousands apply for 18 train driver jobs on new Borders railway

Trains: Thousands have applied to drive on the Borders railway.© STV

ScotRail have been bombarded with applications from people wanting to be train drivers on the new £300m Borders railway.

The firm advertised 18 trainee posts and received 2229 applications by mid-January's closing date deadline.

It means applicants have a one-in-123 chance of landing one of the coveted positions on the 35-mile track which will link Edinburgh Waverley with the Borders region.

Christine Grahame, MSP for Midlothian South, Tweeddale and Lauderdale, and long term supporter of the scheme due to open in 2015, said the high interest in the Tweedbank-based jobs was a good sign.

She said: "They are very attractive jobs - people want to be involved in a new project with a national profile such as this. The positions carry a bit of kudos - it will be great to say you drive a train for a living.

"I also think it is good for the area, as successful applicants will likely be from around the country and therefore will come to the Borders to live.

"It is another example that the railway really is coming. I have seen the work going on in Gorebridge and Galashiels and there is real progress."

The posts have a starting salary of £22,281 rising to £39,204 after training and the probationary period is completed. The job advert explained that successful candidates will have to be wary of various elements when driving, including “foliage”.

A ScotRail spokeswoman said: "The selection process has begun and the first recruits will begin their training in late spring."

Network Rail also announced this week it has employed 15 local people to work on the line, with three junior posts being created with main contractors BAM Nuttall.

Planning applications for seven new bridges at Glenfield Road, Wheatlands Road and Winston Road in Galashiels as well as Falahill, Heriot, Hangingshaw and Fountainhall have also been submitted.

Construction work on the Borders Railway - which will replace the Waverley line that was axed in 1969 - is due to start this spring with a completion date of 2015.

It will have ten stops - Edinburgh Waverley, Brunstane, Newcraighall, Shawfair, Eskbank, Newtongrange, Gorebridge, Stow, Galashiels and Tweedbank - with the total journey time estimated at 55 minutes.