Campaigners have got used to misinformation from John Lamont MSP, who describes the new railway as the “Galashiels Railway Project” – ignoring the benefits it will bring to a wide swathe of the Central Borders through bus-rail interchange and park-and-ride – but his latest effort plumbs the depths.
A spurious new story in the Hawick News on 19th October ‘revealed’ that the cost of the railway has doubled from the original budget. Well, we knew that already, and it’s no different to the way that the cost of all three previous rail re-opening projects in Scotland increased from original budget to completion, ditto the M74 Northern Extension. And we know how much of a success these new railways have been.
Bizarrely, Lamont viewed this old news as “yet another blow to the Galashiels Railway Project that would see it delayed once again. With nearly £54 million spent there is still very little to show for it as not a single piece of track has been laid yet.” He obviously hasn’t been at Millerhill since June 2011 (see photo above).
While Paul Wheelhouse MSP rightly accused Lamont of “a campaign of misinformation”, he didn’t help matters with a media statement full of errors:
“The previous specification by Labour and the Lib Dems was little better than light rail and would have resulted in a slow journey time of around 70 minutes, lack of dual-tracking, and no provision for future freight development. The project as is now specified will deliver trains in 55 minutes from Tweedbank to Waverley Station, has largely been dual-tracked for improved resilience, has a standard gauge for future freight and provision for freight-handling facilities, while the additional station at Stow is now included.”
Why can’t our political representatives get their facts right?