September 2015 start of services?

An article in New Civil Engineer magazine – to which we’ve been alerted by the Capital Rail Action Group – suggests that September 2015 will see the start of train services on the Borders Railway. Although much of the text of the article will be familiar, there are one or two other interesting snippets – but regretably CBR is not mentioned in the potted history of the rail re-opening campaign. See:

A quick response to the doom-mongers!

Following a cobbled-together front page story in the 2nd March Herald, which tried to cast doubts on the business case for the Borders Railway, readers of the paper – including David Steel, and Paul Tetlaw from Transform Scotland – have today set the record straight with a fine array of ripostes. See:

Edinburgh Evening News backing for Borders Railway

After many years of scepticism, negativity and outright opposition to the Borders Railway from The Scotsman, it’s a pleasure to read the positive coverage today in a large feature by stablemate Edinburgh Evening News. Headed ‘It’s on the right lines’ the double-page story leaves the reader in no doubt that the railway will have a massively positive impact on the Borders and Midlothian.

There’s also strong backing for the project in the paper’s editorial, which concludes that “when we see the diggers in action we have the comfort of knowing that the results will bring a real boon to the area.”

So, how long now before a change of heart at Scotsman Towers!?

January update from Simon Walton, CBR Chairman

“Simon Walton here. You may not have heard much from the chairman’s office lately, but it’s been all go behind-the-scenes at campaign HQ. Our change of committee came on the same day as the contract was signed to start work on the Edinburgh to Tweedbank railway, or, as we prefer to call it, Phase One.

“Now we’ve had the very good news that the Scottish Government, in collaboration with the Association of Community Rail Partnerships, will back the formation of CRPs in Scotland. Obviously, CBR is right behind the idea, and I for one am in no doubt that our membership will be first in line to sign up for any future Borders Railway CRP. That’s why we’ve already expressed an interest to Keith Brown, the Transport Minister.

“That is not the only development at CBR. With preparatory work already underway up and down the line to Tweedbank, we are looking at the question of where does the campaign go next? Of course, the answer is Melrose, Hawick and Carlisle! Seriously though, where do we next direct the emphasis, and the resources, of the campaign?

“Already, active members are putting together a list of things we’d like to do – including supporting the Borders Railway Project during the construction phase; and helping make sure the line is as successful as possible from Day One; and structuring our campaign efforts in pursuing our ultimate aim of re-establishing the whole route from Carlisle through the Borders and Midlothian to Edinburgh.

“We have had lots of ideas and suggestions already on specific things we should be doing to turn our aims into reality, and we need more from the whole membership and indeed from anyone who supports the railway. Whatever you feel CBR should be doing now and in the future, please do feel free to contact me, Simon Walton, at

“If you feel you can be more active, even if only for an hour or two a month, then get in touch. There is plenty to do, from simply helping spread the word about campaign activities, to administration and helping with proposed events. Many hands make light work, and by working together we can make CBR even more effective. Wouldn’t it be great to be an active part of even greater successes in the years to come?

“We also need your help to upgrade our own lines of communication. With so much going on, would like to present a more frequent newsletter, but we can only afford to do that electronically. So, we’re contacting all our members, to ask for email addresses, or other ways to get in touch. If want to help with this urgent task, just drop me a line with your up-to-date contact details. Better still, encourage a friend to join as well.

“If you are a CBR member, watch out for Newsletter 43, coming soon by one means or another. If you’re not a member, join us now! Subscription and contact details are shown on the ‘Support Us’ page of the web site.”

Support from Michael Moore MP

CBR Chair Simon Walton reports:

“Michael Moore, MP for Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk, and, incidentally, the Secretary of State for Scotland, met on Friday with Simon Walton and Richard Crockett, incoming chairman and outgoing vice chairman, respectively. As was said, it’s nice of the chairman to get to know the ordinary membership. 

“It’s not every ordinary member however, who has a seat in Westminster, and Michael, as a long standing member of CBR, was rightfully thanked for his continuing support.
“He offered some valuable insights and expertise, not least communicating developments, engaging with communities, and keeping abreast of works.  So far, so ministerial – but seriously, among his genuinely perceptive recommendations were using social media to far better reach the community at large; and how to put forward plans and proposals in ways that offer all shades of opinion an opportunity to engage.
“With CBR reviewing its role, and reviewing its priorities, Michael’s insight, and even participation, is a welcome offer.”

The Southern Reporter says it all

The big announcement on 6th November generated a wide variety of media coverage – from the predictably downbeat Scotsman,through an alarmingly negative BBC (giving far too much prominence to the narrow and distorted perspective of John Lamont MSP) to generally positive coverage in the Border Telegraph, Guardian, Herald and perhaps above all the Southern Reporter. The paper’s news story recorded Cllr David Parker’s tribute to the work of CBR over the years, and in its editorial, headlined  ‘Time to get on board and ensure rail link’s success’, concluded that:

“…in the three years remaining before the Waverley Line opens for business, let’s be working together to ensure it is on track and successful from the off, because if it isn’t, we will only have ourselves to blame – and that includes the naysayers.”

We couldn’t say it better ourselves!

New official web site for the Borders Railway

Network Rail has launched a striking new web site for the Borders Railway on Amongst the interesting snippets to be found are:

  • The Borders Railway will be the longest new domestic railway to be constructed in Britain for over 100 years [showing the tremendous scale of achievement, completely ignored by sceptics and critics like The Scotsman]
  • Trains will run every half hour at peak times [our italics] – perhaps a new opening to create more paths for tourist charter trains rather than the evenings and Sundays-only windows of opportunity in the timetable specification to date?
  • Journey times between Tweedbank and Edinburgh will take “less than one hour” [suggesting we need to keep up the pressure for the 55 minutes commitment made in 2009].