Call for ‘guarantee’ on Borders line

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THE Scottish Government is being urged to give a “cast-iron guarantee” over the completion date for the Borders rail line.

Earlier this week there were reports the cost of the project, which will reopen a rail link from Edinburgh to Tweedbank, near Galashiels, was set to rise from the official maximum of £295 million to nearer £350m and it may not open until late 2015, almost a year later than scheduled.

Scottish Liberal Democrat transport spokesman and South of Scotland MSP Jim Hume pressed Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon on the issue in the Scottish Parliament. She told him that December 2014 “remains the Scottish Government’s target date”. But afterwards, Mr Hume said: “This is far from a cast-iron guarantee. After a botched tendering process and five-and-a-half years of mismanagement, the people of the Borders and Midlothian are still no closer to seeing trains in their communities.

“It was disappointing that the Deputy First Minister could not provide further detail.

“We have had years of chaos and concern surrounding the project. It is high time that the Scottish Government took control of this situation and set out a detailed timetable for progress.”

The new line will see the first trains run through the areas since the Waverley line closed in 1969.