The cancellation of the Flying Scotsman locomotive’s trip to the Borders on Sunday has been described as “unbelievable and unacceptable”.
The comments come from Councillor David Parker, leader of Scottish Borders Council, following Network Rail’s decision to pull the plug because the route had not been adequately checked by engineers.
MSP Christine Grahame said the “appalling” news was down to “complete incompetence by Network Rail”. She is now calling for a full investigation.
Councillor Parker said: “Network Rail’s failure to complete the necessary work is quite frankly unbelievable and unacceptable. Only discovering the position on Friday evening makes the news even more shocking.
“A huge amount of work has gone into the planning of this event, and we know this news will leave thousands of people very unhappy and let down.”
Ms Grahame is furious that the routes had not been individually assessed by engineers in advance of the visit.
She said: “This is appalling news and I am very upset on behalf of all of those who have spent a good deal of time planning this event. It is complete incompetence by Network Rail to have failed to carry out the work necessary for the train to travel on the line when they have known about the visit for two years.
“I will be contacting the chief executive as well as the transport minister, Derek Mackay, at the earliest opportunity to find out why this came to light with only a day to go until the visit was due to take place.”
The MSP for Midlothian South, Tweeddale and Lauderdale said she will be pressing for Network Rail to compensate businesses or local organisations expected to be out of pocket.
Scottish Borders Council is now reviewing plans it had made for Sunday’s event and is expected to make an announcement later today about alternative arrangements.