Tourist train companies back plan for station upgrade

Four of the biggest operators of tourist charter trains in Scotland have backed proposals for an upgrade of the planned Tweedbank station to accommodate longer trains, bringing additional visitors to the Borders.

The Campaign for Borders Rail (CBR) has lodged a submission with Scottish Borders Council (which is currently consulting on a planned new location for the station), arguing that the station’s two platforms should be extended from the currently planned six-coach specification for standard ScotRail services to 10 or 11-coach length – allowing up to 500 passengers per train.

CBR Chair, Lorne Anton, said: “In February 2010 the Waverley Route Trust completed extensive research, with the Passenger Charter Companies, to establish if there was a demand for specialist ‘tourist trains’ into and out of the Borders. This research established considerable demand and interest from these companies and working on the experience learnt from other areas visited by these companies, found that they could generate an additional £500,000 per year, to the Midlothian and Borders economies.”

Now CBR has secured the backing of four key rail companies which operate charter trains to key Scottish destinations such as Edinburgh and the Highlands.

SRPS Railtours, Commercial Manager Roger Haynes says: “SRPS Railtours are not the only operator of special excursions who would hope that the new terminal station at Tweedbank will be designed to provide stabling, run-round and watering facilities for special trains. These trains can carry up to 500 passengers and therefore provide a boost to the tourist economy of the areas which are visited.”