Comment: Reopening of line is symbol of the future

it is a moment that will go unnoticed by everyone apart from the most avid trainspotters and the occasional dog walker.

The first trains to return to the Waverley Line since the 1960s may only be for driver-training runs next week but it is undoubtedly a historic moment. Those who are aboard the first post-Beeching train between Edinburgh and the Borders will have a tale to tell their grandchildren.

It is also an important development for the region as a whole as passenger services move a significant step closer.

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The reopening of part of the original line rights a historical wrong by restoring a service that should never have been cut in the first place, but it is also a sign of the growing importance of public transport to the Capital.

The Borders Railway will be a significant boost for the tourist industry, neatly allowing day trips from Waverley station to the home of Waverley author Sir Walter Scott.

But its real significance for the Capital can be seen by what is happening along the line.

At Shawfair, after years of delays, work is finally under way on building the Lothians’ latest “new town”. Over the next few years, 4000 homes will be built, creating a new community the size of Dunbar.

The difference between this and neighbouring communities is that a railway station will be at its heart, making commuting into the city centre easy. These homes are being built so that more people can afford to work in Edinburgh and still live in a family home with a garden.

There is a similar story beside other stations, at Newtongrange and Gorebridge, where more homes are being built for the same reason.

The reopening of the Waverley 
Line is an excuse for plenty of nostalgia, but it is also a symbol of the future. The city needs public 
transport links so that we can all continue to thrive.