WTH 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 its efforts to concentrate resources on seeking extension of the line and creating a new, strategic cross-border rail link.
Stories include AGM panelists 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 adn 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.
He said: “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.
“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 co-ordinator, who emphasises that the Campaign remains the Borders Railway’s closest ally, and also it’s keenest watchdog.
Simon Walton, the Campaign’s chair, noted the recent winter weather, and recalled how important the railway had been in maintaining communications and commerce, no matter what the conditions.
He said: “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.”
Newsletter 55 is attached (here) and pictures are available in support of all the above stories.
For further details, comment and questions, contact Simon Walton on 07540 313018 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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