Campaigners seeking to re-open the disused Thornton North Junction-Methil line say that “ludicrously pessimistic” passenger forecasts for the Borders Railway from Edinburgh to Tweedbank could threaten that and other similar projects.
“Evidence from other re-openings has convinced us passenger use would greatly exceed forecasts,” said LevenMouth Rail Campaign Secretary Allen Armstrong.
“Our main fear is that the apparently in-built handicap in rail forecasting falsely scares decision-makers away from considering such much-needed and highly viable projects.”
Armstrong was backed by rail consultant David Spaven, who said of the Borders Railway: “The ludicrously pessimistic patronage forecasts in the business case adversely affected the benefit-to-cost ratio, which in turn led to the cutback of double track and contributed to the unreliability of the service.
“It is utterly discredited. There should be an inquiry into how the business case was undertaken by consultants and overseen by civil servants, and a root-and-branch review of forecasting methodology.”
- For more on this, read RAIL 804, published on July 6.