Campaign AGM sparks debate and new hope for extension  – Press Release issued 20 October 2018

Campaign AGM sparks debate and new hope for extension
The Campaign for Borders Rail AGM saw lively debate during a “question time” afternoon session, featuring a panel including political rivals John Lamont MP and Paul Wheelhouse MSP.  
In front of an audience of around two hundred members and guests at Hawick High School (Saturday, 20 October 2018), the Westminster MP and the Holyrood MSP initially argued over their respective track records on support of the Campaign’s cause to extend the Borders Railway through Hawick to Carlisle. However, in the face of intense questioning from the audience, they did reach consensus on the benefits that rail infrastructure would bring to the community.
Simon Walton, the CBR chairman, who hosted the ‘question time’ styled public event, said it was a real endorsement of the Campaign’s hard work over the past twelve months. “That politicians demonstrated they are united behind the project, proves how far we’ve come,” he said. “We invited panelists from all facets of political and civic life to join us at our nineteenth annual general meeting, and they were able to demonstrate that whatever ideological differences they may have, they were in no conflict over the benefits of being part of the national rail network.”
The meeting also heard that the Scottish Government had decided to take forward two rail-based proposals from the recent Borders Transport Corridors Study (the so-called Jacobs Report) – identifying Tweedbank to Carlisle as an option for examination, and also, to look in more detail at a possible link to the East Coast Main Line.
“The Campaign remains committed to re-establishment of the former ‘Waverley Route’ as the best and most achievable outcome,” said Simon Walton. “The bottom line is that a new rail service through Hawick and the Scottish Borders will go a long way towards solving many of the economic and social challenges faced by the region. It will be the most tangible and achievable way to kick-start that regeneration process, and bring about the best return on investment for the benefit of the widest possible cross-section of the community.” 
Panelist and academic Brian Eaton, who has extensive experience of the value of rail development around the world, cited other examples of sparsely populated areas generating larger than expected traffic flows. His example par excellence was the New Zealand station of National Park, which has virtually no resident population, yet is among the busiest places on the North Island, simply due to the accessibility afforded by rail transport.
Shona Haslam, leader of Scottish Borders Council, emphasised the collateral benefits to communities around the Borders, just by having closer proximity to rail services. From the panel on stage, she listened to host Simon Walton who noted initiatives like Kelso Racecourse’s “track to track” shuttle which brings rail-travelling racegoers direct to the venue. “It’s ideas like this that show how rail demonstrably helps nurture and grow business in the Borders,” added Simon Walton.
Most closely questioned panelists were Richard Morris, the former chair of the Friends of the Carlisle and Settle Line, who recounted how that line, regarded as a sister business case for the ambitions of the Campaign for Borders Rail, had helped support enterprise in the rural economy, and greatly raise the profile and attraction of the region to a worldwide market. However, the most interest was reserved for John Stevenson, the Carlisle MP, and ‘champion’ of the Borderlands Growth Initiative, who reiterated his support for funding of a full feasibility study, as the very next stop on the line to reinstating the badly needed link through the Borders to Carlisle.
Concluding, Simon Walton said: “Having the stated support of the new cross-border agency is a vital step forward. The Campaign and its members must take credit for pushing that agenda forward. John Stevenson did all but pull out his agency’s cheque book, and Paul Wheelhouse reminded us that, while the current agenda puts extension several years down the road, it’s up to the Campaign to be ready to present the case for the Borders Railway extension in the eventually of circumstances changing. Our policy of informed and rational advocacy has served us well thus far, and will serve the Borders well in the future. We’re closer now than ever to seeing everyone’s ambition achieved.”

GUIDE IMAGE: L-R Brian Eaton; Shona Haslam; John Lamont; Paul Wheelhouse; John Stevenson; Richard Morris

For more information contact Simon Walton below.

Simon Walton, chairman

http://www.campaignforbordersrail.org
07540 313018

waltonsg@uwclub.net

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Press Release 15 October 2018 – Cabinet Secretary meeting and AGM panel includes Lamont and Wheelhouse. 

CAMPAIGN FOR BORDERS RAILPRESS RELEASE 

Issued 15 October 2018

Frank discussions with Transport Secretary ahead of Campaign AGM including political heavyweights Lamont and Wheelhouse.
The Campaign for Borders Rail (CBR), which is building on the success of the Borders Railway and seeking extension through Hawick to Carlisle, has met with Scottish Government minister Michael Matheson, Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity, ahead of their Annual General Meeting in Hawick on Saturday 20 October.
A CBR delegation met in Edinburgh with the recently appointed cabinet secretary, to raise awareness of campaign issues, and to take a briefing on the current government position regarding infrastructure development, with particular relevance to extending the Borders Railway. The Campaign reiterated its invitation to the their “Question Time” style public debate at the AGM.
Simon Walton, the Campaign’s chair, said the meeting was productive, and allowed both sides to express their positions. “The fact that we are around the table, discussing options for extension, rather than still trying to argue the case for the railway, shows how far we have come,” he said.
Marion Short, vice chair of CBR, said that the AGM would be the ideal platform from which to update the membership, and the community at large. “There is a great deal of progress to bring to the membership, and this meeting could not have come at a more opportune time.”
Robert Drysdale, also a senior committee member of the Campaign, raised several issues, which impact directly on the future of the Borders Railway, and the prospects for extension. “Given the nature of the industry, there are a number of bodies involved in any rail project. It’s our job as a Campaign to bring together all the political points of view, the statutory bodies, and the interests of commerce and community, and get them around the table. This is particularly important now that we’re promoting a new cross-border strategic rail route connecting Scotland with England. We’ve plenty of new information to bring to Campaigners at the AGM, and plenty of new questions to put to the panel as well. It should make for a lively afternoon.”
The Campaign’s Annual General Meeting is this Saturday (20 October, 1300-1600) in Hawick High School. The highly-popular “Question Time CBR” panel has been finalised with six prominent figures answering questions from members and the public. They are: John Stevenson MP from the Borderlands Growth Initiative; John Lamont MP for Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk; and Paul Wheelhouse, MSP for South Scotland and ministerial deputy for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity. Local government is represented by Shona Haslam, leader of Scottish Borders Council. Community and commerce are represented by Brian Eaton, academic in the subjects of transport and tourism at Edinburgh Napier and Hong Kong universities; and Richard Morris, chairman of the Friends of the Carlisle and Settle Line, often regarded as the sister railway of what was the “Waverley Route” through the Scottish Borders.
The AGM’s “Question Time” session is open to the general public, with doors open at 1415hrs.

IMAGE: L-R Simon Walton, CBR Chair; Michael Matheson MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity; Marion Short, CBR vice chair; Robert Drysdale, CBR committee. 
For more information contact Simon Walton below.

Simon Walton, chairman

http://www.campaignforbordersrail.org

07540 313018

waltonsg@uwclub.net

Press Release 12 July 2018 : Cross-Border rail campaigner unites 43 communities in fight against Alzheimer’s

Cross-Border rail campaigner unites 43 communities in fight against Alzheimer’s
Announced on the longest day of the year, a life-member of the Campaign for Borders Rail plans to undertake the longest cross-border rail journey in the UK, to connect with communities from North East Scotland to South West England in an epic effort to raise awareness of what can be achieved together, no matter what the cause may be.
On Monday, July 16, John “Kim” Elliot will board the early morning rail service, provided by operator CrossCountry, at Aberdeen. He’ll undertake the 785-mile trip to Penzance, making 43 stops along the way, in the course of the thirteen and a half hour journey.
As a tangible contribution to the community at large, Kim is raising awareness for Alzheimer’s Research UK fight the condition that leaves sufferers disconnected from their friends and families. His fundraising is already underway at uk.virginmoneygiving.com/JohnElliot2.
The journey is symbolic of the way rail services make collaboration between communities possible. The timing of the journey is symbolic of the day that severed that connectivity for many, including Elliot’s own community of Hawick.
In 1968, 11-year-old Kim was part of a delegation that marched on 10 Downing Street to deliver a petition to Harold Wilson, Prime Minister of the day, demanding a reprieve for the impending closure of the 98-mile long main line railway running from Edinburgh Waverley through Midlothian and the Scottish Borders to Carlisle Citadel. The line, known as the Waverley Route, was a lifeline to communities large and small, all of which were cut out of the railway network, and lost out on generations of economic regeneration, when the axe fell six months later. Many places, including the once prosperous mill-towns of Galashiels and Hawick have declined dramatically in the five decades since then.
Elliot’s mother, Madge, led the petition in late 1968, and has remained an active campaigner ever since, though she has now been forced into retirement by the onset of Alzheimer’s Disease. 
His mother’s enforced decline was the inspiration behind Kim’s forthcoming effort to raise awareness for the Campaign his mother inspired, and to prove that much can be achieved when communities are connected together.  
“It promises to be some journey, but the memory of that black day in 1968 – Monday, July 15 – should never be forgotten,” said Kim, emphasising that by remembering what has been lost, keeps alive the ambition to return services and connection to communities isolated by the closure. 
“It is an ironic parallel of the disability of Alzheimer’s Disease,” he said. “It’s a disability of disconnection and, if we can all work together to do something to put right the disconnection suffered by the Borders, and suffered by those afflicted by Alzheimer’s Disease, then we can prove that connected communities do have common purpose that’s made possible by the ability to worktogether. 
Originally inspired by a radio programme called, ‘A Journey Through English’ (first transmitted on BBC’s Radio 4 network on Saturday, 3rd September 2016), Kim had intended to undertake the longest continuous train journey in the UK – between Aberdeen and Penzance – last September to coincide with his 60th birthday, but thought the experience would be enhanced if he waited until longer daylight prevailed. After giving the idea some more thought, he decided to wait until July and dedicate the expedition to:

  • raising money and awareness for Alzheimer’s Research UK (via uk.virginmoneygiving.com/JohnElliot2).
  • elevating the profile of Campaign for Borders Rail
  • commemorating the 50th anniversary of Richard Marsh’s announcement 

In addition to experiencing the UK’s longest continuous train journey between Aberdeen and Penzance, which remains the expedition’s central plank, he hopes to walk from John O’Groats to Thurso and Penzance to Land’s End to top-and-tail the trip. The missing link between Thurso and Aberdeen will be negotiated by boarding the only Sunday train service running from Thurso to Inverness before connecting with an early-evening ScotRail service from Inverness to Aberdeen (Dyce).      
Kim Elliot is available for comment, interview and photo opportunity, before or after the rail elements of his journey. Contact Mr Elliot directly on 07762 755741.  
Please note that this press release does not sanction any media activity around the railway network. Any such activity must be agreed with the relevant owners and operators.
In case you missed it: uk.virginmoneygiving.com/JohnElliot2.
Any other media enquiries may be directed to Simon Walton, Almond Bank Communications, on 07540 313018 / waltonsg@uwclub.net
Does Kim stop in your community? The CrossCountry timetable for the direct 0820 Aberdeen to Penzance service.

 08:20 Starts and departs from Aberdeen
 08:38 Stonehaven

 08:59 Montrose

 09:15 Arbroath

 09:35 Dundee

 09:48 Leuchars

 09:55 Cupar

 10:02 Ladybank

 10:09 Markinch

 10:18 Kirkcaldy

 10:33 Inverkeithing

 10:51 Haymarket

 11:06 Edinburgh (Waverley)

 11:28 Dunbar

 11:51 Berwick-Upon-Tweed

 12:12 Alnmouth

 12:41 Newcastle

 12:54 Durham

 13:12 Darlington

 13:44 York

 14:11 Leeds

 14:23 Wakefield Westgate

 14:55 Sheffield

 15:07 Chesterfield

 15:28 Derby

 15:38 Burton-On-Trent

 16:12 Birmingham New Street

 16:51 Cheltenham Spa

 17:26 Bristol Parkway

 17:44 Bristol Temple Meads

 18:16 Taunton

 18:28 Tiverton Parkway

 18:46 Exeter St David’s

 19:06 Newton Abbot

 19:18 Totnes

 19:49 Plymouth

 20:12 Liskeard

 20:24 Bodmin Parkway

 20:34 Par

 20:41 St Austell

 21:02 Truro

 21:18 Redruth

 21:25 Camborne

 21:35 St Erth

 21:43 arrives and terminates at Penzance

Press Release 22 May 2018 – Campaign for Borders Rail comes to Carlisle

Tuesday 22nd May 2018
Campaign for Borders Rail comes to Carlisle (meeting held on 18th May 2018)

In collaboration with the offices of John Stevenson MP (Carlisle) and John Lamont MP (Berwick, Roxburgh and Selkirk); the Campaign for Borders Rail is jointly distributing the attached press release, giving details of the meeting between the two MPs and the Campaign, held last Friday (18 May 2018) at the offices of John Stevenson MP in Carlisle.

Campaigners fighting to extend the Borders Railway on to Carlisle have met with the two MPs who represent the beginning and the end of the proposed new line.

Carlisle MP and Borderlands Growth Deal Champion, John Stevenson hosted John Lamont MP and representatives of the Campaign for Borders Rail in the city recently, to discuss the potential of bringing the line to Carlisle.
 
At the meeting, John Stevenson MP was briefed about the success of the line to Tweedbank, as well as the potential benefit to the Scottish Borders and Cumbria of extending the line. 
 
Both MPs have now agreed to pursue the issue with the UK Government and make sure extending the Borders Rail is considered as part of the Borderlands Growth Deal. 
Speaking afterwards,

John Lamont MP said: “The business case for bringing the line to Carlisle is clear to me. There could be huge benefits in terms of job creation, better connectivity to the West Coast Mainline and Carlisle airport and also added benefits like getting some freight off our roads.

 
“In my view, the Borderlands Growth Deal is the perfect opportunity to fast track the extension of the railway. Better cross border routes are exactly the type of projects that Borderlands should be supporting.”
John Stevenson MP added: “This proposal is potentially very exciting. It could help boost the connectivity and economy of a substantial part of the Borderlands region. I look forward to working with all parties to try and make this a success.”
 
Simon Walton, Chairman of the Campaign for Borders Rail
said: “It was great to bring the two Members of Parliament together to discuss bringing the Borders Railway to Carlisle.
 “It would really be a strategic link between Carlisle and Cumbria more widely and the Scottish Borders. Both areas would be exposed to new markets and better transport links. This extension is the most tangible way of promoting economic re-development throughout the whole region.
 “There is clearly an opportunity in the Borderlands Growth Deal to press forward with this and I look forward to working with local representatives.”  
 
Ends


Simon Walton, Chairman, Campaign for Borders Rail

Campaign for Borders Rail – Press Release 4 February 2018

Campaign for Borders Rail Press Release – immediate release 4 February 2018
[This press release refers to Issue 55 of Campaign for Borders Rail’s Newsletter which was circulated to CBR members on 3 February.]
Campaigners Rail on to Carlisle 
With government and local authority support, the Campaign for Borders Rail is looking south, all the way through Hawick to Carlisle, in the organisation’s latest newsletter. Building on the success of the Borders Railway between Edinburgh and Tweedbank, the grassroots campaign with wide support throughout the community, business and government, has shifted the focus of it’s efforts to concentrate resources on seeking extension of the line and creating a new, strategic cross-border rail link.
Stories include AGM panellists from across the community; notes from across the Border; and reflections on the importance of rail services past and present
Westminster’s Department for Transport hosted Campaigners, making the national strategic case for joining the West Coast Main Line at Carlisle to the Borders Railway at Tweedbank, near Galashiels.
The AGM, held recently in Hawick, featured a panel of guests, answering questions from the audience. Panelists were: Cllr. Colin Glover (Leader Carlisle City Council), Alex Hynes (MD ScotRail), Rachael Hamilton MSP, and Cllr. Watson McAteer (Scottish Borders Council and Provost of Hawick). Both John Lamont and Watson McAteer have contributed features to the newsletter
John Lamont, MP for Berwick Roxburgh and Selkirk writes in the newsletter,  arguing for early commencement on extension and pledging to follow up the Campaign’s visit to Westminster with Transport Secretary Chris Grayling.
Watson McAteer, Provost for Hawick and Scottish Borders Councillor says the economic cooperation of the Borderlands Initiative is the key strategic driver to the successful reinstatement of railway services in the southern Borders. “The test will be in
the willingness of the Scottish and Westminster governments to work together to bring real benefit to communities located at the political extremities,” he said. “I am sure these initiatives will focus on a number of economic and social opportunities. The first priority must be an effective transport link. What better way of demonstrating real commitment than by righting a 1969 wrong and reinstating our Waverley Line.”
There’s tourism developments in Midlothian, with plans to rehabilitate station buildings in Newtongrange and Gorebridge. Featured is Sam Smith, the Borders Railway Blueprint Manager. She has been working on the future business benefits of the line and meets
regularly with members of the other groups with a £10m investment to promote the region and funding shared with the other supporting bodies.
In a special interview, Driver team manager at Tweedbank, Russell Storrie, gives an operational insight into the running of the Borders Railway. There’s also a passenger’s perspective from Michael Spencer, the Campaign’s Volunteer Coordinator, who emphasises that the Campaign remains the Borders Railway’s closest ally, and also it’s keenest watchdog.
Simon Walton, the Campaign’s Chairman, noted the recent winter weather, and recalled how important the railway had been in maintaining communications and commerce, no matter what the conditions. “We are less than a year away from the 50th anniversary of the savage pruning that removed all of the Borders railways. That’s why the Campaign is more active than ever, more influential than ever, and needs your support more than ever. It’s time for us to ask the question once again and argue the case for early extension through Hawick to Carlisle.”
Pictures are available in support of all the above stories.
For further details, comment and questions, contact Simon Walton on 07540 313018 or email waltonsg@uwclub.net
 
 

Campaign for Borders Rail – Press Release – 21 October 2017

Campaign for Borders Rail

Press Release

Saturday, 21 October 2017

Campaign Given Mandate to Carlisle

Guests Alex Hynes (ScotRail MD); Rachael Hamilton MSP; Cllr Colin Glover (Carlisle CC); and Hawick Provost Watson McAteer (Scottish Borders Council) make passionate pleas for extension through Hawick to Carlisle.

The unanimous vote of the membership gave the Campaign for Borders Rail leave to continue pressing the case for a new cross-border rail link via the Scottish Borders, by extending the Edinburgh – Tweedbank (Borders Railway) through Hawick to Carlisle. The vote was taken as the climax to the Campaign’s AGM, held before an enthusiastic audience at the Heart of Hawick.

A panel of four prominent guests took part in a ‘question time’ styled debate, answering questions posed by the membership at large.

Watson McAteer, Provost of Hawick said that a railway would bring benefits to the community in Hawick, and provide a catalyst for economic growth.

His counterpart, Colin Glover, Carlisle City Council Leader, reiterated the importance of improved communications between the Cumbrian capital and the Scottish Borders. A new link would provide better opportunities for all communities served, including adding appeal to Carlisle as a destination for business and leisure.

Rachael Hamilton, the MSP for Ettrick, Roxburgh and Berwickshire, said that the line represented a vital step for the Borders. She praised the professional approach of the Campaign, in it’s continued lobby to keep the argument for extension on the public agenda.

Alex Hynes, Managing Director of ScotRail Alliance said that the 2.6million journeys made on the existing Borders Railway, in the two years siunce opening, proved there was demand for services in the Borders. He noted that improvements, such as longer trains, were in the planning pipeline, and said his role would certainly involve him in any service planning for an extended Borders Railway.

Simon Walton, who was elected for a second stint as Chair of the Campaign for Borders Rail, said this would be a pivotal year for CBR. He said that with a Scottish Government backed transport study expected in the New Year, it was crucial that the Campaign be methodical in its response. The recommendations, he said, were by no means assured to be positive towards railway development. However, the new chairman praised the efforts of Campaigners, who recently raised paid-up membership to an all-time high of over 1000. He said the weight of expectation was now firmly on the Campaign’s shoulders, and that remaining focused, committed and confident were the keys to seeing their ultimate goal achieved.

 
Notes to Editors:
The report Summary Case for a New Cross-Border Rail Link is available to download at http://www.CampaignforBordersRail.org.

The Borders Railway is the northern part of the Waverley Route that closed in 1969 between Edinburgh and Carlisle through Galashiels and Hawick. It was formally opened by Her Majesty the Queen on 9 September 2015.

News Media contacts for CBR:
Allan McLean, phone 07531 129892 or email allanpmclean@gmail.com
Simon Walton, phone 07540 313018 or email waltonsg@uwclub.net

Campaign for Borders Rail
Onwards through Hawick to Carlisle
http://www.campaignforbordersrail.org
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Campaign for Borders Rail – Press Release 10 October 2017

Today, 10 October 2017, the Campaign for Borders Rail reached the milestone of 1000 members, representing a three-fold increase in membership since the Borders Railway opened.
Membership is at an all-time high. Campaign spokesman, Simon Walton, said this was a clear call to continue working for a through route across the Borders. He said: “We have always looked on the huge success the Borders Railway as a first phase towards our commitment to a railway that connects Edinburgh, Midlothian, the Borders and Carlisle. The full economic benefit, and the potential for a socially inclusive and sustainable network, can only be fully achieved by completing the rest of the line. The surge in our paid-up membership, and the many thousands who view, follow and contribute to our social media channels prove there is an unfulfilled desire to give the Borders the boost they need through completion of this railway project.”
Hard working membership secretary, Dave Adams, says the Campaign can still welcome new supporters, and he is already working towards the next millennium of members. He said that distribution of the Campaign’s well received document ‘Summary Case for a New Cross Border Rail Link’ had proved a popular recruiting tool as well. He said: “New members were offered a hard copy of the Summary Case, and it is already proving a valuable tool for promoting and explaining the Campaign case. I still urge existing members to recruit friends and family, and to see the Campaign as a tangible way to help regenerate the Borders.”
The Campaign newsletter (attached), already nominated for national awards, features an exclusive interview with Alex Hynes, the recently appointed managing director of the ScotRail Alliance. Already taking to the limelight, Alex Hynes said he was looking forward to the unique challenge of running Scotland’s main rail operator. He said: “It’s like no other railway operation in Britain. It’s a unique challenge. From the intense commuter services around Glasgow, to the Far North Lines, and, yes, the Borders. Everywhere is different and has different needs.”
AGM speakers include Alex Hynes. He will join a panel that includes Colin Glover, Leader of Carlisle City Council; Watson McAteer, Honorary Provost of Hawick; and Rachel Hamilton, MSP for Ettrick, Roxburgh and Berwickshire. The AGM, at the Heart of Hawick is at 1pm on Saturday 21 October (formal business, open to members only) and a public session at 2.30pm featuring a ‘question time’ styled discussion with the panel of speakers. Members will again be given priority for seating at the venue. Simon Walton said the popularity of the AGM shows no sign of abating. He said: “For the third time in four years, we are heading for a full house. There is no denying the enthusiasm and desire among the Borders community. we will be seeking a further mandate from the membership to continue our campaign work. I’m confident of a very healthy endorsement for that motion.”
Notes to Editors: 
The report Summary Case for a New Cross-Border Rail Link is available to download at  www.CampaignforBordersRail.org

 

The Borders Railway is the northern part of the Waverley Route that closed in 1969 between Edinburgh and Carlisle through Galashiels and Hawick. It was formally opened by Her Majesty the Queen on 9 September 2015.

News Media contacts for CBR: 
Allan McLean, phone 07531 129892 or email allanpmclean@gmail.com
Simon Walton, phone 07540 313018 or email waltonsg@uwclub.net
Campaign for Borders Rail
Onwards through Hawick to Carlisle
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