THE success of the railways in luring more of us on to trains won’t be universally welcomed.
Of course it is good news – both for the environment and the Capital’s economy – that we have a thriving rail network serving the city.
But regular passengers will groan in the knowledge that the flipside to this is all too often uncomfortably packed trains.
One of the biggest reasons for the growing passenger numbers – alongside social factors such as the growing popularity of city breaks – is the significant investment in services and infrastructure in recent years.
In the last five years, we have seen the opening of the Airdrie to Bathgate and Alloa-Kincardine lines, the revamp of Haymarket Station, greatly improved services between Edinburgh and Manchester and heavy promotion of East Coast Mainline services. Soon, the Waverley Line will reopen taking passengers between Edinburgh and the Borders.
Service levels have also improved, to the point where you can generally rely on most services to arrive on time or thereabouts, which was not always the case.
These are all valuable improvements and each has played their part in attracting more passengers on to rail services in and out of the Capital.
But the investment must not stop there. More travellers means there is a need for more and bigger trains. Unless enough money is spent on them then this welcome trend will soon be stopped in its tracks.
End is in sight
There is no such thing as a risk-free deployment for our armed forces.
And when it comes to Afghanistan, they have learned to expect the unexpected and take nothing for granted.
But the soldiers of 2 Scots can at least know that their latest trip to the country is at least intended to be trouble-free.
While remaining on high alert and able to respond at a moment’s notice when called upon, their principal role will be leading the training of local forces as the withdrawal from the region continues.
That is not without its own dangers, of course, but it does mean that, for our forces in any case, the end is firmly in sight.
They will hope to leave Afghanistan in six months’ time without firing a shot in anger, and their anxious families back home in the Lothians will be praying for the same.
Best wishes to them all for a safe tour of duty.