CBR criticises Transport Scotland over lack of ‘future proofing’

CBR has questioned Transport Scotland’s failure to ensure that the Borders Railway is ’future proofed’ to allow cost-effective double-tracking in the future. In its response [see link below] to the Network Rail planning application for a new road bridge to carry the A7 over the single-track railway at Falahill, the Campaign has advised Scottish Borders Council that “Our position in relation to the latest proposals for Falahill is that we cannot offer our support unless the A7 road bridge is redesigned to provide double-track clearances for the railway.”


3 thoughts on “CBR criticises Transport Scotland over lack of ‘future proofing’

  1. As a retured principal planner I am well equipped for making representations to Local Planning Authorities. I did so in relation to the first Falahill scheme – the double roundabout – and made criticisms which made no difference to the outcome of that application but which, magicaly, seem to have sunk eventually and led to the revised proposal. This is far more sensible, except for the single -track only formation; the same criticism can be made of the proposed bridge at Winston Road in Galashiels. There are many places where the historic constraints made double track economically unviable but we should not be creating more by needlessly restrictive new construction.

    I am not going to make individual representations; I think that my remoteness from the site (I live near Derby) would only identify me as a railway supporter who likes to influence projects anywhere in the UK, but I do urge campaigners to continue to press for full double track clearance on all new works to allow for the maximum future enhancement possibilities.

    • Nick Bethune, CBR London Officer says:

      Thank you for this thoughtful and well articulated contribution, John. Your point about not creating new barriers to future capacity enhancement is one which CBR has been making consistently for a number of years, especially in relation to the new road-over-rail bridges. Despite this, when the engineering drawings for the Borders Railway scheme were made public earlier this year, it was immediately apparent that the new bridge structures on single track sections of the line would not be built to double-track clearances. This included the bridges at Falahill and Winston Road that you mention, and several others besides. CBR immediately raised its concerns about these with Network Rail, and a detailed and lengthy dialogue with them and Transport Scotland ensued. I am sorry to say, however, that it has not so far been possible to persuade them to revisit the design of these structures and, with contracts signed and construction work progressing apace, it seems unlikely that they will now do so. That said, we have continued to press the case in relation to the latest proposals for Falahill as, in that location at least, a final decision is still to be made and the scale of the proposed bridge structure is such that rebuilding to double-track clearances in the future could be so expensive as to be effectively impossible. I don’t know if you are a member of CBR already, but if not I would urge you to join (the same applies to any other supporters of the railway who may be reading this!) and you will find contact details for the membership secretary on the website – £5/year or £30 for life. As well as continuing to lobby for the “Best possible Borders Railway by 2015” and promoting the benefits of the reopened line to help ensure its success from the outset, CBR is renewing its campaign to see the line extended to Hawick and eventually through to Carlisle. There is much to be done and we need as many people with us as we can get!

  2. I agree and take a look at the Inverness – Aberdeen Railway line around Nairn with they reducing the line to single with passing points around the stations. They want to double track the line at the point the line pass under the A96 with a narrow bridge to spend to widen, the bridge into Nairn from Forres was replace with a single line bridge over the A96. So there would be a saving in cost if the was set out for the possibility of double track in the future, than leaving it as single track will cost a very large amount of money to update the track to double track in the future time.

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