Secretary of State for Scotland seeks assurances over future of Borders Rail Project
THE Secretary of State for Scotland has admitted he is "deeply concerned" by claims that the brakes were being put on plans to reintroduce train services to the Borders for the first time in more than 40 years in a bid to save money.
And he has written to the country's Transport Minister for reassurance that the the rebuilding of the line between Tweedbank and Edinburgh is still on track.
It followed speculation that Transport Scotland, which is in charge of overseeing the £295million project, is planning to reduce the length of crossing loops on the single line track in an attempt to cut costs.
The Campaign for Borders Rail warned that would increase journey times between Edinburgh and the Borders beyond the 55 minute maximum currently planned, and end up costing more in the long term.
They have also reiterated their plea for the two platforms proposed at the planned terminus in Tweedbank be extended, from the current six-coach specification for standard ScotRail services to 10 or 11 coaches in length, to accommodate so-called tourist trains which they claim could generate an extra half a million pounds for the local economy each year.
Borders MP Michael Moore said: "The Borders railway must provide the best possible service to local people so nobody wants any changes which would lengthen the journey time between Tweedbank and Edinburgh.
"I have therefore written to the Transport Secretary, Keith Brown to ask him to clarify the plans and urge him to maintain the planned journey time of 55 minutes."
Transport Scotland insisted the speculation that the brakes were being put on plans to reintroduce train services to the Borders was way off track. A spokesperson said: "These claims are inaccurate. Bringing benefits for local communities and businesses in Midlothian and the Borders remains the key consideration in our work with Network Rail towards delivery of this project.
"Investigations undertaken during the Parliamentary process indicated that scheduled passenger services were the only viable option at that time. However, with the use of additional stewarding procedures, it would be possible to run charter trains to Tweedbank, without any additional costs or delay to the project."
And they added: "As we progress the detailed design our focus continues to be on journey time efficiency."
This article appeared in Border Telegraph 10 Aug 12
Have your say. Post a comment on this article.
Aug 9, 10:19
EARL, GARL (both cancelled) and EGIP (severely culled) have all suffered at the hands of "Transport Scotland" doing its Scottish Government masters' bidding!
Why should the Borders Rail scheme prove to be any different!
Recommend? Yes 9 No 1
Aug 9, 10:21
Of course, a detailed study of the case for re-instating the southern portion of this erstwhile mainline beteen Edinburgh and Carlisle would have the additional effect of adding some weight to the Secretary of State for Scotland's opinions as viewed from the perspective of the Scottish Parliament.
Given recurrent problems on the exposed borders stretches of the East Coast Main Line caused by adverse weather, mightn't at least a study of options available be a prudent course of action?
Recommend? Yes 13 No 0
Aug 17, 07:55
How many more scare stories will they put out before this railway is ever delivered (assuming it ever is-the Borders Railway received the Royal Assent well before the Airdrie to Bathgate which has been open for well over a year now), although a lot of clearance work has been undertaken of vegetation and buildings, no construction work has actually started yet, as someone who passionately believes that the line should never have closed in the first place, I am still convinced that given the chance, there are some people in the Scottish Parliament who would love to kill the project off for good. When will (if ever) any construction start, I can't see how they will deliver it by 2014 now.
Recommend? Yes 2 No 0
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