The Campaign for Borders Rail (CBR), established in 1998, is one of Britain’s most successful grassroots rail campaigns. CBR’s initial aim will be realised on 6th September 2015 when ScotRail services begin running over the new Borders Railway from Tweedbank and Galashiels to Edinburgh – bringing trains back after an absence of more than 45 years. CBR’s next objective is to see the railway extended to Hawick and Carlisle, completing the return of the Waverley Route closed in 1969 as part of the ‘Beeching cuts’ – which saw the Borders become the only region of Britain without a rail service, and left Galashiels and Hawick further from the rail network than any other towns of their size in Britain. www.campaignforbordersrail.org .
As well as the core strategic achievement of the return of a railway from Edinburgh through Midlothian to Tweedbank, 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 (the Scottish Parliament passed the Waverley Railway (Scotland) Act in 2006)
saving of the original 1849 station building at Stow from demolition (2011), with the potential for beneficial community re-use
Tweedbank station 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 charter trains 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 Class 158 trains should be refurbished to provide better window/seat matching and enhanced luggage/cycle space (2014).