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A campaigning success story

CBR encouraged Borderers to believe they really could get their railway back

Following initiatives in the mid to late-1990s by the private company, Borders Transport Futures, to get rail re-opening on the political agenda, the grassroots Campaign for Borders Rail (launched in 1999) encouraged Borderers to believe that they really could get their railway back. A pivotal early accomplishment by CBR was to secure 17,200 signatures on a petition presented to the new Scottish Parliament in 2000, calling for the return of rail services.

As well as the core strategic achievement of the return of a railway from Edinburgh through Midlothian and Galashiels to Tweedbank (agreed by the Scottish Parliament in 2006), local rail campaigners – notably CBR, Stow Station Supporters Group and the Waverley Route Trust – can take credit for some important supporting successes, a number of them achieved in the face of official resistance:

  • first coining the 'Borders Railway' name (in 2003)
  • persuading Parliament to include a station stop at Stow when none was to be provided (agreed in 2006)
  • saving of the original 1849 station building at Stow from demolition (2011), with the potential for beneficial community re-use
  • the Tweedbank track layout redesigned to take 12-coach tourist trains, providing the basic infrastructure needed to bring additional tourist spend to the Borders (2012)
  • a requirement for the new ScotRail train operator to accommodate 'paths' for tourist charters to fit in with the regular service timetable (2013)
  • cutting the maximum waiting time at the A7 pedestrian crossing from bus to rail stations in Gala from 90 to 30 seconds, improving convenience and safety for rail passengers (2013)
  • the first train of the day to Edinburgh retimed to provide a robust connection into the 06.25 service to London (2014)
  • persuading Transport Scotland that the Borders Railway Class 158 trains should be refurbished to provide better window/seat matching and enhanced luggage/cycle space (2014).

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The Tweedbank track layout has been redesigned to take 12-coach tourist trains, providing the basic infrastructure needed to bring additional tourist spend to the Borders.