New blog administration in advance of the big announcement

This is David Spaven here – I’ve taken over blog administration on behalf of CBR, and hope to be able to make regular postings in the exciting period following the anticipated announcement – in the next couple of weeks – of the go-ahead for construction of the Borders Railway.

I look forward to your comments on postings, and ongoing discussion on how CBR and others can help to ensure we get – in the words of CBR – ‘the best possible Borders Railway’ – by 2014-15.

I will need to feel my way into this new role, so please bear with me if the technology initially gets the better of me! Just one request at this stage – it would be great if your comments were attributable rather than anonymous, unless of course your employment precludes this.

Stirrings at Fountainhall

January 15th, and a frosty trackbed in the cutting north of Fountainhall, where site preparation is under way. The trackbed at this point climbs at 1:150 on its way to Falahill Summit, around four miles to the north.

Network Rail, who have now taken on the construction of this line, will shortly announce whether it is feasable to meet the 2014 opening date. Over 80 structures from the original route are to be reused.


Late March 2011 at Newcraighall

Work is well under way to form the connection between Network Rail and the Borders Railway at Newcraighall. Here’s three images of the work by Network Rail’s contractors to realign the turnback siding at Newcraighall. It will form the connection to the Borders Railway itself – the latter will be neither owned nor maintained by Network Rail.

New milestone reached for advance works on Borders Railway

Cowbraehill Bridge Site
Site of Cowbraehill Bridge

As the project moves into its build phase, advance works are in progress at various locations on the route. Removal of a defective accommodation bridge at Cowbraehill will allow for its replacement by a new structure. Some of the masonry from the old bridge will be reused on the Borders Railway project. The image shows the Waverley Route trackbed and the cleared site of Cowbraehill bridge.

Here’s more, in a press release from Transport Scotland.

News from South Wales

Extract from Rail User Express  Sept. 2010.

The 17 mile Ebbw Vale line, re-opened  to passengers in 2008, has been a HUGE success….take note anyone still doubting the justification & traffic potential for reopening the Northern part of the former Waverley main line route from Edinburgh to Galashiels/Tweedbank.

The Welsh Assembly Government is increasingly supportive of rail schemes after the reopened Ebbw Valley line met its five-year target of carrying a million passengers in ONLY 18 months!

Network Rail is now progressing schemes to extend the Ebbw Valley line into Ebbw Vale town centre and also allow trains to run direct between the existing Ebbw Vale Parkway terminus and Newport, in addition to those already running to Cardiff.

– Transport Briefing 8/10

Whitrope – July 18th

Statement by Richard Crockett
Chair: Campaign for Borders Rail

Mr Chairman, Secretary of State, Ladies & Gentlemen

On behalf of your sister organisation looking to see the provisions of the 2006 Waverley Railway Act of the Scottish Parliament carried through, I should like on behalf of the Campaign for Border Rail to congratulate you warmly on all that you have achieved down here at Whitrope and to wish you every good wish for your continuing development. You are particularly to be commended in being the first along the line of the old railway actually to have permanent way on the ground. We look forward to the appearance of JCBs and operatives in high viz jackets along the valley of the Gala Water hopefully within the next 18 months. When that happens we can perhaps relax a little in the face of continued sniping in some parts of the media and the political establishment against the plans to restore rail links to the Borders.

I am constantly amazed by the short-sightedness of the anti-rail brigade. In the shorter term, a recovering economy is going to see crude oil prices creeping up again – very probably reaching $150 a barrel as early as next year. The £10 a gallon pump price for petrol is nearer than you think. (Hands up those who are happy with that prospect. I thought so).

In the longer term, at some point a future Scottish Government, irrespective of political allegiance, is going to have to address the fact that growing use of the railway network, both for the passenger and trainload freight markets, is going to be constricted by the fact of there effectively being only two double track crossings of the Border – that at Gretna and the other many miles away near Berwick. A glance at an Atlas will show that the latter in particular, is not best placed in terms of Scottish centres of population and industrial development.

Michael, as a Westminster minister, you have only an oversight role in terms of what is carried through in terms of the devolution settlement, but you are our local MP taking an active interest in the economic well being of our corner of SE Scotland. The amazing U turn on the Damascus road by your main opponent in the recent election presumably is for some dark political reason but we are confident that you along with all sensible people will continue to strive for the Borders to be properly connected to a modern UK-wide and Europe-wide transport infrastructure. Thank you