In need of trains

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For the experts you quote to describe the Borders as “such a thinly populated area” for a new railway (your report, 19 April) is seriously misleading.

When the old Waverley Route closed in 1969 it left the Borders as the only region of Britain without a train service, and in the words of an internal Scottish ­Office memo by my father – who as a civil servant had long argued the case for retaining the railway – the Borders became overnight “by far the largest population grouping in Britain with no ­accessible railway services”.

Galashiels and Hawick were left further from the rail network than any other towns of their size, and public transport to Edinburgh in 2013 is still slower than it was in 1900.

In an era of uncertainty about oil prices and supply, climate change and continuing road congestion, the Borders – with a population now over 110,000 – sorely needs the safe and sustainable means of access to the rest of the country which the new Borders Railway will provide.

David Spaven

Church Hill Drive


ScotRail recently improved 
the Sunday rail service on the popular Edinburgh-Falkirk-
Glasgow route to half hourly from first service to last service. The service is well patronised.

Attention must now be ­focused on the electric service via Bathgate-Airdrie which, having a 15-minute weekday frequency, is still just hourly most of Sunday, despite serving large population centres.

The Falkirk line was closed for many Sundays this spring and passengers did use the infrequent direct Bathgate electric services to and from Glasgow.

With the planned further electrification of the Central Belt routes and the dreaded weekend bus substitution, a half hourly service from first train to last train is needed on the Bathgate line every Sunday.

Colin C Maclean

Hillpark Avenue