Bridge problem strengthens case for re-opening cross-Border rail line

CBR echoing some of my own thoughts here.
Scotland does require considerable upgrading of its cross border rail capacity.
This would seem the right moment.

Campaign for Borders Rail


News Release

22 January 2016


The closure for several weeks of the West Coast Main Line because of weather-related damage to a bridge carrying the railway over the Clyde at Lamington in South Lanarkshire strengthens the case for re-opening rail access between Edinburgh and Carlisle through Hawick.

That’s the view of the Campaign for Borders Rail (CBR) which seeks enhancement and extension of the Borders Railway that opened through Midlothian and part of the Scottish Borders last September.

“A wrong was committed against Scotland and the North of England in 1969 when the Waverley Route was closed between Edinburgh and Carlisle,” said Allan McLean, chairman of the CBR.

“Part of the old route was formally reopened by the Queen last year but now we want to see other communities reconnected to Edinburgh and Carlisle by train, including Hawick. The current…

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2 responses to “Bridge problem strengthens case for re-opening cross-Border rail line”

  1. I’m not sure that in the present financial situation a case can really be made for an extension of the current line through Hawick and on to Carlisle although i would have thought that there’s a reasonable case for taking the line on to Hawick. The only reason that the current problems have arisen is unusual weather which caused substantial damage to a bridge. That will be repaired. I don’t think that the enormous cost of extending the borders line, and no doubt carrying out at least some upgrading to the existing one, can presently be justified on the basis that it will provide an occasional diversionary route for travellers from NW England to get to Edinburgh more quickly than by using the current diversion via Kilmarnock. And other than that, is there really a pressing necessity to increase our present cross border rail capacity?

    1. I wouldn’t disagree with the overall spirit of your post, David.
      I’m on record as being a little sceptical of extension beyond Hawick although the complete reinstatement of the original 1849 E&H route is both sensible and a near future certainty in my own opinion.
      Serving only two settlements of note south of there, it does seem that the BUR itself remains a tenuous prospect viewed through the prism of orthodox neoliberal economics.
      There is certainly scope for timber extraction but that itself is affected by other factors.
      The reason my thoughts are starting to change is viewing the genuine disruption that the Lamington situation has caused.
      The near conveyor belt of extreme wind and rainfall events experienced over the last three months signals to me that winters of this nature are becoming the norm and building some redundancy into our rail infrastructure to absorb at least some traffic when next one of the two main routes experience this kind of damage.
      Lockerbie experiences surprisingly heavy commuter usage from Edinburgh although it’s possible some of the current catchment could be absorbed by a new Hawick link. Time will tell but I suspect that it will take a whole new form of economic thinking before we get serious about having proper 21st century rail infrustructure in Scotland beyond the Central Belt.

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