More national coverage for the Borders Railway

Courtesy of Modern Railways magazine, here is a link to the news pages of their December issue, which includes extensive coverage of the 6th November announcement. Just scroll down to Page 9 of the magazine.

Modern Railways news pages Dec 2012

RAIL magazine article

With the kind permission of RAIL magazine, here is the link to an article on the Borders Railway by Paul Prentice, published in the June-July issue. Only just received – and although partly overtaken by events it does incorporate useful insights and interesting photos, as well as illustrating how CBR has secured a national profile.

June July 2012 RAIL magazine article

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].

UK news coverage for the Borders Railway

Yesterday’s Guardian carried a big news piece on the Borders Railway – their web version (with different photos) is at

The paper’s Scotland correspondent Severin Carrell is also running a news blog on the Borders Railway:

New Chair and Vice Chair for CBR

Simon Walton

As well as celebrating the day’s great news about the Borders Railway, the 2012 CBR AGM at the Scottish Mining Museum yesterday elected a new Chair and Vice Chair to take over from Lorne Anton and Richard Crockett, who had decided to stand down.

Taking over as Chair is Simon Walton from Fountainhall, who writes:

“Born in Loanhead, a small mining village on the outskirts of Edinburgh, Simon Walton made it into the fifties by just 38 days. He is keenly aware of the ever changing face of Scotland, and saw the last coal trains pull out of the Bilston Glen branch off the Waverley Route.  In fact his very first rail journey was a short trip on that very line.  Though new to the Campaign and to the Borders, Simon is no stranger to the fate of the Waverley Route, and has followed the Borders Railway Project with keen interest for several years.  A media and public relations professional, he counts careers with the BBC and the National Trust for Scotland within his varied portfolio.  Industrial heritage and communications are Simon’s keenest interests, and he can often be found searching in the most unlikely spots for traces of the past.  As a former sound engineer, he’s fascinated by the unattainable aspects of history.  What he’d give to actually hear industrial Scotland all over again.

“For the Campaign, Simon is ambitious to see even greater cooperation between the CBR and the community at large.  There’s a bigger part for the CBR to play, he says, and encouraging a more active and self-reliant Borders is just one part of that.  By working together, he sees the Borders Railway not just a transport link, but an inspiration for greater collaboration in the Borders, and an example of the value of commitment and collective endeavour.  He’s committed to seeing restoration in the light of modern needs, and fully supports the push further south.”

The new Vice Chair is Tom Curry, who is a career railwayman, currently developing new business in Scotland for the rail haulier Direct Rail Services. Tom is also a keen railway enthusiast, and spoke in his professional capacity to an early CBR conference on freight prospects for a re-opened Waverley Route. Recently he has been providing advice to David Spaven on operational aspects of the charter train market for CBR’s campaign push, which was so successfully concluded yesterday.

Another campaign success for CBR

Today’s historic announcement of the Borders Railway contract signing by Transport Scotland and Network Rail also brought confirmation of the success of CBR’s campaign (together with the Waverley Route Trust)  for Tweedbank station to be redesigned to accommodate tourist charter trains.

The Tweedbank terminus platform tracks will now be extended to 285m length, enabling commercially viable 12-coach charters to use the Borders Railway – and bringing in new visitor spend to attractions such as Sir Walter Scott’s Abbotsford, Melrose and the Borders abbeys.

Great credit should go to the Scottish Government for listening to CBR, which has argued long and hard for this. The Borders delegation to the Settle & Carlisle line in August – an inspired idea organised by Bill Jamieson and including Claudia Beamish MSP and regional tourism representatives – was crucial in firing up Claudia to press for a meeting with the Transport Minister, Keith Brown. He listened to CBR’s arguments, and has now accepted the merits of the case we have been making for more than a decade.

Congratulations all round, not least to Bill, who today steps down after 13 years continuous service as a CBR officebearer. What a way to go!