Thursday, March 15, 2007


There’s two letters in today’s Scotsman about the Borders Party that are to fight the local elections in May and in particular there’s criticism of their stance as ‘one issue party’. The issue being the Border’s railway. Apparently there was an article in the Scotsman a couple of days ago, which I missed and no cannot find, the gist of which must have been about The Borders Party’s opposition to the train.

I’m not a member of the Borders Party but I have long shared their views on the suitability of the rail link from Tweedbank to Edinburgh. Having worked in the transport business I know a little about passenger forecasting and I have major reservations about the predictions for the passengers that the line will carry. On the Waverley Projects web site in the Q & A is asks
How much will it be for tickets?
Matters such as ticket prices, exact timetabling, earliest and latest trains will be fixed by the eventual operator of the service and will be subject to regulation by the Rail Regulator.

Nevertheless they still managed to make passenger forecasts that show the line making money. I’m all for helping get cars off the roads but if we are to do the job then let’s do it properly with a train that runs at an average speed of more than 35 mph, and on a two track line that allows for frequency when we need it.

In the second letter the writer accuses the BP of being neo luddites for daring to oppose ‘the partial reopening of the Waverley route’. This is for me has a lot to do with why this plan is going ahead. The new railway is not ‘fit for purpose’ (oh, how I hate that phrase) as it will be a single track line, that will take an hour to make its way to Edinburgh and will fail to meet the demands of modern day commuters. I’m fed up with reading about how we will follow the German and Swiss model for railways. They build proper lines for trains, not glorified trams.

The train has been approved by a parliament anxious to be seen to be doing the right thing. However, I’m prepared to wager it will not be built. The costs that have been forecast are woefully inadequate for the job and I reckon we will get to the point where someone is going to question the budget overruns that will soon start to be mentioned. We cannot have another Holyrood fiasco

As our illustrious leader Jack McConnell called it - “the tram to Gala" My bet is the tram'll come off the tracks.


From the Scotsman 15 March. "SCOTLAND'S biggest transport project since devolution was approved by MSPs yesterday, clearing the way for the £610 million rail link to Edinburgh airport. The Ten miles of new track, including a runway tunnel, are due to open in 2011, enabling through trains to run from Edinburgh, Glasgow, Fife and the North."

Now I know tunnels are expensive and there are a lot of other criteria but how come this is going to cost four times more than the Border railway.

Yes, you've guessed it, it isn't. The soaring budgets for the reopening of the Border railway may even begin to make the Olympic overspend look paltry

No comments: