Rail row: MSP accuses council leader of having 'flippant attitude' towards cost of Borders Railway project

Published: 30 Oct 2012 14:308 comments

A LOCAL MSP has raised concerns in the Scottish Parliament with regards to the amount of money being spent on the rail link to Tweedbank.

MSP John Lamont.

JOHN Lamont has raised concerns in the Scottish Parliament with regards to the amount of money being spent on the rail link to Tweedbank.

It comes after sources close to the project were reported as saying that it is now anticipated to cost £350million, which is £50million more than first anticipated.

Leader of the Scottish Borders Council, David Parker, was then also quoted as saying, "I am not too concerned if it exceeds its budget".

Mr Lamont said: "The concerns surrounding the Galashiels rail link are continuing to grow. The latest reports state that not only will the project be delayed significantly, it will also be massively over budget. Residents in the Borders are rightly starting to ask questions about it.

"When it is taxpayers' money that is being spent it is always important that we do everything we can to ensure that it is spent in the most efficient way possible. I was therefore shocked to hear the comments from Councillor David Parker that he did not care if the project continued to run over budget.

"It is an insensitive and flippant attitude to have towards other people's money, and shows that he has no care for the finances being sunk into funding the railway. With £54million having been already spent without a single piece of track being laid, many people will rightly be worried about how much more of their money will be wasted."

Mr Lamont added: "This overspend is money that could be spent on improving our transport infrastructure throughout the Borders. Our road and bus network are crying out for investment yet this rail link is taking up all the money that could be used for it.

"When so many in the Borders rely on our roads every day, I am sure that the majority of Borderers will be asking how much more taxpayers' money this project will need to get it completed."

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  • ned kelly
    Unregistered User
    Oct 31, 10:21
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    It was always a white elephant from day one where have all the train spotters gone now,back to where they live outwith the borders I believe.

    Recommend?   Yes 6     No 9

  • fegguk
    Unregistered User
    Oct 31, 13:30
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    Lamont does not mention that most of the money spent so far has been on buying the land. How does he expect them to start building the thing without spending money before they start? Once again he is being disingenuous; if he made his comments honestly it might add more wait to what he says rather than cheap political points scoring which no intelligent person respects.

    Recommend?   Yes 4     No 7

  • hazelkaye
    421 posts
    Oct 31, 18:34
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    Don't apportion blame to those actually willing to reopen this railway.

    The blame lies with the closure tactics invoked through the Beeching/Marples-Ridgeway mentality of the mid-1960s!

    Recommend?   Yes 8     No 4

  • halcyon1
    Unregistered User
    Oct 31, 23:33
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    I was born and brought up in the borders And used the Waverley Line on a very occasional basis from Galashiels to Edinburgh picking up my girl friend at the time from Heriot.

    These were the in the days of individual compartments with 8 seats. We always had a compartment to ourselves which was wonderful but never were there crowds on the train.

    In these days of cars being king I doubt very much whether many people would use the trains after the novelty value was passed.

    With such a huge cost the fares will probably be far in excess of people's resourses especially if free travel is available for senior citizens on the buses!

    Recommend?   Yes 3     No 5

  • Seenitallbefore
    Unregistered User
    Nov 2, 15:39
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    I've long been a supporter of a Borders railway plan, but I am starting to hae ma doots aboot this commitment.

    It's not the cost, as the Scots government seems to think it's okay to spend £3bn on upgrading the A9 which has four times as much benefit to a population of 56000, than an equal one at the other end of the upgrade.

    And, on the A9 it appears to have made fast progress on awarding contracts for design, scoping, ground work in the past six months for a project which is timetabled to be complete by 2025, than in 10 years of commitment at Holyrood to the Borders Railway.

    There is no obvious level of meaningful work in place - the A9 plan kicks off in Spring 2013 - can we say the same for the railway?

    It will be interesting to see what Mr Brown's statement on the building of the railway will be given the rethink of plans on bread and butter railway line projects such as EGIP etc.

    Perhaps the question should be not on costs but on whether this is just pie in the sky?

    Recommend?   Yes 2     No 4

  • wull
    Unregistered User
    Nov 3, 19:10
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    I keep getting the impression that this railway is not going to happen, i am for the rail return but has it gone past by the point of no return, ie, the buildings thats been pulled down, compulsory purchase etc, i truly hope the cost of a fare is going to outweigh the cost of fuel to get to Edinburgh and back, if it doesnt, the beaching axe may fall again..

    Recommend?   Yes 0     No 3

  • selik34
    Unregistered User
    Nov 4, 08:32
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    Waste of money,spend it on the country road that is the A7,end of..

    Recommend?   Yes 8     No 4

    Unregistered User
    Nov 7, 09:08
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    Well said selik34,a decent main road would boost the economy far more than any passenger train.Sometimes the obvious is the best way.Even in these hard financial times it seems this country still loves to waste money.SHAMBLES..

    Recommend?   Yes 3     No 2