Railway ‘Could Bring £500K New Spend’ To Borders Economy Every Year

NEWS RELEASE

Railway ‘Could Bring £500K New Spend’ To Borders Economy Every Year

The Campaign for Borders Rail [1] has today (Wednesday 17th) launched a new initiative to ensure that the planned Borders Railway taps into the tourist charter train market, which could bring £500,000 of new spend into the Borders economy every year. [2]

CBR is calling on Scottish Borders Council to make sure that the line’s Tweedbank terminus is designed flexibly to handle charter trains and luxury land cruises such as the Royal Scotsman [3], plus containerised freight in a nearby yard. To coincide with the initiative, CBR has also launched a new website [4] to publicise its objective of securing “the best possible Borders Railway by 2014”. [5]

In a letter [6] to Cllr David Parker, Leader of Scottish Border Council, CBR Chair Richard Crockett welcomes Transport Scotland’s “imaginative vision” for the new railway and urges SBC to take account of both rail freight and tourist charter traffic in the design and planning process for the Tweedbank terminus:

“Recognition of the environmental benefit of handling freight – particularly that dispatched from or destined for the Scottish Borders region – on the new railway is most welcome, and we also support Transport Scotland’s requirement for companies bidding to design, build, finance and maintain the line to take account of secondary revenue from tourist traffic and to make provision for tourist charter trains.

“However, to accommodate these additional rail markets on the Borders Railway, in addition to the normal timetabled passenger trains, it will be crucial to ensure that the Tweedbank terminus is designed in such a way as to allow for the capacity and facilities needed for freight and charters, as well as facilitating ultimate extension of the line south to Carlisle (as mooted by Transport Minister Stewart Stevenson in December).”

CBR says that for potential containerised freight (such as waste, road salt and timber) a simple container-handling terminal could ultimately be created to the north and east of the planned Tweedbank station car park. For freight and for passenger charter trains it would also be necessary to create a locomotive ’rounding loop’’ but this could be a modest add-on to the currently planned 2-platform terminus layout.

A further potential dimension to the new railway would be to take on board the many encouraging lessons from ‘community rail partnerships’ in England and Wales [7] which have gone beyond a simple transport agenda and are linked into wider strategies for accessibility, rural regeneration, social inclusion and sustainable tourism. Such an approach in the Borders could encourage local businesses to locate in and around Tweedbank, Gala and Stow stations (even providing rail ticket sales facilities), with the local community ‘adopting’ stations and organising local walking and cycling tours linked to rail via the nearby National Cycle Route.

ENDS

CONTACTS:

Richard Crockett, Chair CBR on 078408 15550 or 01896 750730
Lorne Anton, Vice Chair CBR on 01896 830575

NOTES FOR EDITORS:

[1] The Campaign for Borders Rail is a grassroots campaigning organisation set up in 1999 to secure the return of rail to the Scottish Borders – the only region of Britain without passenger trains. See http://www.campaignforbordersrail.org.

[2] CBR research into the charter train market in Scotland suggests that around £500,000 of new spend could be attracted into the Borders economy every year. This is based on an assumption that of over 80 charter train arrivals at Scottish destinations in 2009 (with Edinburgh as the single most popular destination), some 40 could be extended or diverted to Tweedbank.

Based on a typical train capacity of 500 passengers @ 90% loading – and using a figure of £25 expenditure per head derived from VisitBritain data – http://www.enjoyengland.com/images/visitbritain%20summary_tcm21-170908.pdf – this would equate to around £450,000 pa. To this could be added 40 overnight visits by the Royal Scotsman (around 25% of its total overnight stays pa), with an average of 30 passengers spending £50 per head.

[3] The Royal Scotsman is a luxury land cruise train operating 2, 3 and 4 night excursions around Scotland from Edinburgh during the spring to autumn season – http://www.royalscotsman.com/web/rs/the_royal_scotsman.jsp.

[4] CBR’s new website is available at http://www.campaignforbordersrail.org.

[5] Transport Scotland’s 23-month procurement process for the design, construction, financing and maintenance of the Edinburgh-Galashiels-Tweedbank line (the ‘Borders Railway’) began in December 2009, and the line is planned to be operational in 2014. See http://www.transportscotland.gov.uk/projects/borders-railway.

[6] CBR Chair Richard Crockett wrote to Cllr Parker, Leader of SBC, on 8th February. The letter is currently available at http://www.transformscotland.org.uk/GetFile.aspx?ItemId=225.

[7] For more information on community rail partnerships’ visit the website of the Association of Community Rail Partnerships – http://www.acorp.uk.com.

END OF NEWS RELEASE

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3 Responses

  1. Having seen the number of people regularly disembarking from special trains arriving in Carlisle from all over the country and spending money in the nearby shops and restaurants, I would consider the accommodation for such tour trains as essential for Tweedbank and to therefore open up the beauty of the Borders and its history to some who may never consider driving here or using a tour bus.

  2. I do not know how the revived line is to be signalled (Possibly ERTMs, Track Circuit Block or even Radio Controlled; as West Highland & far North lines are at present) but simplest and cheapest option for providing for any occasional Special/Charter Passenger or any Freight traffic would probably be to provide a Ground Frame operated point at Tweedbank giving access to 2 sidings forming a run round loop including a hand operated point within the sidings …this would cater for stabling, light servicing & loco run round if required for any train and be clear of the running line and platforms.

    It should be appreciated that in practice these days on the National (ex BR) Network few loco hauled Special/charter trains have only one loco …for reasons such as ease of operation/reversal and ‘contingency & robustness’ (in case of loco failure) many Special/Charter trains run with a loco at both ends of the train whether Steam or Diesel worked.

  3. I fill the line would bring a great level of tourist from all around Scotland, different parts of United Kingdom, Europe and USA. I hope the line is build to a standard will take the extra goods traffic as happen with Stirling to Alloa railway line with now the need to spend extra money to bring up to required standard for the coal goods traffic

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