The Campaign for Borders Rail is considering commissioning its own professional research to support the case for extending the Edinburgh-Tweedbank railway to Hawick and Carlisle, amid concerns that public bodies seem to be dragging their heels.
Completing the 35-mile southern section of the former Waverley Route, closed in January 1969, seems to have lost much of its momentum with only tiny mentions in two major policy documents - the Scottish Parliament’s Strategic Transport Projects Review (STPR2) and the Westminster-initiated Union Connectivity Review (UCR).
“Our initial response to both reports was one of disappointment, given the minimal reference to the new railway,” said CBR Chairwoman Marion Short.
“Any lack of political and government agency support will not deflect our campaign in its top priority of seeing the completion of a new cross-border link.”
The CBR has been particularly disappointed with the UCR report, which restricts its comments to a single sentence on page 41 and does not offer support for the economic, social and environmental benefits of extending the successful Borders Railway southwards.
Subject to CBR membership approval, a specialist consultancy with expertise in transport and sustainability will be hired to develop the case in further detail.
“Using professional consultants will give us robust and independent evidence to support our engagement with the official feasibility study process,” said Short.