Sunday, 11 May 2014
Waverley - the next step
Alex Salmond, First Minister of Scotland, gave a speech at Carlisle on 23 April addressing Scotland's future. He believed the Borders Railway will be profoundly successful and said that its success will 'calibrate' any feasibility study on further extension to complete the connection between the Borders, via Hawick, and Carlisle. Simon Walton, the chairman of the Campaign for Borders Rail, told the First Minister this unfairly means the economic prospects for those communities depend on the patronage of the line between Tweedbank and Edinburgh, rather than their own merits. Mr Walton said "The First Minister spoke at length about harnessing the potential of communities on both sides of the Border, but the Central Borders communities are being missed out. We still lobby for the reinstatement of the remainder of the line, because we believe that the Borders communities deserve their economic regeneration as soon as possible, and the railway would be a direct, tangible and effective means of doing so." A reopened line from the Borders to Carlisle would give an important link, initially to the West Coast Main Line through to the North West, Midlands and London. It would subsequently allow High Speed Rail services running through onto HS2 south of Crewe. The benefits of this link to the Borders' economy are there and must be explored and identified sooner rather than later.