Borders Rail

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How does Colin Maclean (Letters, 15 September) know that “Borders folk” want the railway extended to Melrose and Hawick? Why should they?

What use would it be to those in Kelso, Duns, St Boswells, 
Jedburgh, Coldstream or 
Eyemouth?

Why are some in the Borders so obsessed with restoring old rail routes? We don’t hear of “Buchan folk” wanting a railway to Peterhead and Fraserburgh, “Galloway folk” asking for one to Castle Douglas and Newton Stewart or “Deeside folk” pressing to restore the line to Ballater.

Seemingly, they are more 
realistic.

If more public money is to be spent on new railways it should not be in the Borders, which has already had its share of public beneficence.

The sensible course is to improve existing lines, particularly where this encourages freight traffic. It is often forgotten that most railways were built mainly to carry this.

Melrose is a few minutes’ drive, bus ride or cycle ride from Tweedbank; Hawick is 20 miles away. At £10 million a mile the extension would cost around £200m. That is about £40,000 for each household in the town.

Operating costs would increase the figure. Yet most people, especially the elderly, would still use the buses.

For the above sum several thousand council homes to rent could be built across the region benefitting many more people than would the railway.

There are many other alternative better uses for funds.

Walter Markham

Atholl Road

Pitlochry

The much publicised new rail link to Tweedbank has now been “unwrapped” but the content of the package is far from satisfactory.

I am a regular passenger on the service from the Park and Ride at Newcraighall, where the train previously started and terminated. The service was almost 100 per cent reliable – the train always departed for Waverley on time and seats were plentiful.

My experience last Saturday was very different. The train from Tweedbank arrived about ten minutes late and with standing room only – and not even standing room for some passengers waiting to board at Brunstane.

Furthermore, on arrival at Waverley, passengers without tickets then had to queue to buy one, as the guard had been unable to pass through the train due to the two (only two) overcrowded carriages.

The return journey was no better. It was all very exasperating and disappointing and it is to be hoped that those responsible will endeavour to improve this situation very soon if they wish to keep the regular users.

Alice Mercer

Haddington

East Lothian

My wife and I rode down to 
Galashiels on the new Borders Railway. It was excellent in almost all respects, though something will have to be done to Portobello Junction before it becomes an operating constraint. Winter weather may drive home the point.

What raised smiles is that ScotRail pronounces the name of the optional stop at Stow differently from the folks who live there.

They seem to be unanimous that it is Stow (as in “cow”) and not Stow (as in the Wold). Would ScotRail like to reconsider this?

John Fleming

Dick Place

Edinburgh

There has been a huge amount of complaining about overcrowding on the new Borders Railway during the launch weekend.

Is it naive to suspect that most of the people causing that overcrowding were there out of interest rather than necessity?

Surely it’s more useful to know how heavily crowded the trains are during normal commuting periods.

Roger Reynolds

Ferry Road

Edinburgh