Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Mystery Train

Last train on the Waverley Line in 1969
In The Scotsman today there's a letter questioning the numbers on which the reopening of the Waverley Line has been based. Principal amog them is The 750,000 car journeys that Holyrood were told would be taken off the roads from the 22,000 commuters who live in Midlothian and the Borders.

Thisrelates to slightly over 1,440 people a (working) day using the train service to get to work in Edinburgh from the Borders and Midlothian. So roughly 6.5% of commuters will get out of their cars andd onto the trains

The economic case for the railway showed it making an operating loss even after five years. To me the case seems very flimsy - even allowing for tourists and other one off trips. As an estimate revenue from the commuters might amount to £5.5 million per year (£15 return fare) - they say £6.17m after five years. Even at their estimates after five years the line will still be making an operating loss. On current cost forecasts for building the railway that amounts to something over 31 years just to repay the capital costs of construction.

Why would we build something to lose money? I know the environmental arguments but surely we should be planning something 'fit for purpose' that makes money? This project is all about the Lib Dems pushing for it along with a Scottish Borders Council who want house building in the central Borders


Duncan said...

But how many passenger railways don't make an operating loss? Does it not just come with the territory of running a passenger railway?

Richard Havers said...

Good point....but we should at least strive for a line that makes a profit. The problem with the line as it stands is that it's just kind of their. It totally lacks ambition and drive.

It's all going to end in tears.