A DAMNING report into failings of the Border Railway has been submitted to Transport Scotland.

The year-long report card compiled by campaigners David Spaven and Bill Jameson highlights an unreliable and problematic service.

It shows that in 45 out of the monitored 52 weeks, Borders trains failed to meet ScotRail punctuality targets.

And the authors hope the fact-finding, which has led to them highlighting 15 short, mid and long-term actions for improving performance, will push the rail authorities to speed up planned improvements.

Mr Spaven told the Border Telegraph: "We appreciate that there is an improvement plan now in place for the entire network and that includes the Borders Railway.

"Many of the suggestions we have made are duplicated by the improvement plan, but there is still a lot more that can be done."

As well as missing the 92.5 per cent punctuality target on all but seven weeks of the year, the report shows that trains on the Borders Railways were cancelled on 47 of the 52 weeks.

Mr Spaven added: "Overall, the evidence to date suggests that it is extremely difficult to consistently operate the Borders Railway to timetable.

"While Abellio, the operator of ScotRail, has been the target of most criticism it is important to acknowledge deeper underlying factors for which Abellio cannot be held responsible.

"It was, for example, Transport Scotland which determined the constrained infrastructure specification for the Borders Railway and the decision to deploy Class 158 units – the least reliable diesel units in Scotland – for a route with steep gradients and multiple stops on every train service."

Other findings from the research show that 'right time' arrivals at Tweedbank never exceeded two-thirds in any week of the October-to-October year.

And during the same period the amount of arrivals at Waverley was never greater than 50 per cent in any week.

The authors criticise Transport Scotland’s decision to cut back the 30-mile line’s infrastructure specification from 16 miles of double track to just 9.5 miles.

The ScotRail Alliance, who recently unveiled a major improvement plan for the country's railways, uncovered an issue with the diesel Class 158 trains’ radiators overheating on the Falahill climb.

The reduction in speed, and occasional engine failure, resulted in some trains being delayed.

Two of the units have now been fitted with new trial radiators - which may be rolled out to the entire stock if successful.

And improvements have already taken place to axle counters.

A ScotRail Alliance spokeswoman said: “Borders Railway has been an extraordinary success.

"We are now providing people with an alternative way of travelling to work, to visit friends and family and to use for leisure.

"There have been some challenges and we’re determined to find the solutions that overcome them and see even more customers travelling on the line in year two and beyond.”

Transport Scotland believes that the current plans in place, which were presented by the ScotRail Alliance a fortnight ago, will improve the current service on the Borders Railway.

A spokesman said: "Within the plan, and the actions around it, there is a focus on the Borders route performance. Our officials will monitor and review progress with the planned initiatives very closely to see that they do in fact support and deliver better performance.

"The ScotRail 158 fleet is currently undergoing a £14 million refurbishment programme delivering significant upgrades to on-train facilities. As more refurbished trains are completed they will be rolled out onto central belt routes, including Borders, next year, increasing capacity and reliability for passengers on the Borders Railway.

"Additionally the electrification of the Central Belt rail network and the introduction of our new electric fleet of trains means there will be extra capacity on peak Borders services from 2017."