CBR goes public over ongoing reliability worries

CBR has press-released its letter to the Chief Executive of Transport Scotland, flagging up worries over the impact on Borders train service reliability of cutting back double track and not tackling rail network congestion in eastern Edinburgh.

The release highlights CBR’s call for Transport Scotland to publish its contingency plans for dealing with late running and a request for assurance that any underlying problems will be quickly put right if CBR’s fears over unreliability are realised in practice.

CBR Chair Simon Walton concludes: “Competitive journey times and reliable services are essential if commuters are to switch from their cars to the train in large numbers and ensure that the Borders Railway is the success it deserves to be.”

The press release is attached:

Press_Release_2014_04_28__reliability_plea_for_Borders_Railway

Borders Railway prominent in new issue of Modern Railways magazine

The May issue of ‘Modern Railways’ magazine features two articles on the Borders Railway – railway historian Ann Glen reviews construction progress, while in a 3,000 word piece rail author and CBR life member David Spaven is strongly critical of Transport Scotland over the reduction in loop lengths and the failure to ‘future proof’ road overbridges. He concludes:

“Despite the unnecessary difficulties which the Borders Railway will now face, we should not lose sight of the fact that this is one of the most remarkable rail projects in modern British history. A workforce peaking at 1,000 on any one day is transforming a corridor of 30½ miles, 121 bridges and two tunnels into a safe and sustainable transport link which will partially put right one of the great wrongs of the old model of London-based transport policy. This will be an astonishing achievement for a prospect which was dismissed by all but a handful of rail visionaries just 20 years ago. But will its deserved success be fundamentally undermined by the short-termist approach of Transport Scotland? Only time will tell.”

CBR puts up a final ‘marker’ on train service reliability

With construction works well advanced and the railway due to reopen in a little over a year’s time, CBR has taken the opportunity to clearly re-state – for future reference – its concerns about infrastructure provision and service reliability on the Borders Railway. In a letter to the Chief Executive of Transport Scotland, CBR Chair Simon Walton highlights the vulnerability of the service – following the cutback in double track provision – to delays originating outwith the Borders Railway itself, and says:

“If, despite the reassurances given by Transport Scotland and Network Rail, reliability proves poor, we will expect urgent remedial infrastructure works to remedy the problem. Further relaxation of journey times to provide additional recovery time should not be contemplated…CBR would also ask Transport Scotland to set a clear aspiration for a 55-minute maximum journey time in both directions between Waverley and Tweedbank.”

CBR’s letter to Transport Scotland is attached.

140428-TS-Middleton

CBR presses for refurbished trains on Borders Railway

CBR has urged bidders for the new ScotRail franchise to ensure that Class 158 trains to be deployed on the Borders Railway are refurbished in line with the treatment given to trains serving the scenic Highland lines radiating from Inverness. In letters to all five bidders, CBR says that the train sets – to be cascaded to the Borders from Glasgow-area suburban routes which are currently being electrified – must be refurbished to provide “a service that will convince Borders people to use the train in large numbers”.

Class 158 release copy