Building a picture of future rail services in the Borders

editorial image

Future demand on rail services in Scotland is likely to require upgrading of the current rail network, and how that should be done is currently out for consultation.

Scottish Borders Council has been asked for their views on where the focus needs to be on improving the infrastructure of the rail network and in responding they have focused on the Borders Rail (extending it to Hawick and Carlisle, increasing loops on the line, longer trains and better parking) and improvements on the east coast main line to accommodate local, long distance and freight related services and the development of new stations at Reston and East Linton.

The Edinburgh to Berwick route is one of seven in Scotland identified as in need of changes to meet future demand. Proposed changes include more tunnels into and out of Waverley, increasing station capacity and additional loops on the east coast line including “longer loops of dynamic routes” in the Grantshouse area.

The Network Rail Scotland Route Study says: “Timetable analysis undertaken by Network Rail on behalf of the Office of Rail and Road demonstrated that the existing capacity on the east coast main line will not meet industry requirements.

“Significant growth is forecast for commuter services into Edinburgh Waverley which cannot not be met in 2043 simply through lengthening existing services. Additional local services are likely to be required, and there is insufficient capacity to support delivery without infrastructure interventions.”

The study goes on to suggest that a number of intermediate stations on the east coast main line could be moved on to loops “encouraging more electric-hauled freight”.

Scottish Borders Council’s response about the proposed development of the east coast line is to acknowledge that the two proposed new stations have been mentioned in the draft strategy document and that SBC “would like to reiterate the view that this new local service will be transformational for local communities providing a sustainable low carbon transport option for the people of south east Scotland”.