Fears single tracking will hamper Borders railway

BBorders railway may be hampered by single tracking.Picture:  Neil Hanna
BBorders railway may be hampered by single tracking.Picture: Neil Hanna
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THE number of passengers able to use the Borders Railway line could be held back by the building of a series of new bridges, say campaigners.

The Campaign for Borders Rail (CBR) said at least eight more bridges over the largely single line between Newcraighall and Tweedbank are due to follow a new A7 bridge at Falahill, near Heriot.

Their construction could prevent the line being double tracked in the future, they say.

The group condemned the move as short-sighted, arguing that twin tracks would be required in the future if the £353 million Edinburgh-Tweedbank railway is as successful as previous line re-openings, such as Airdrie-Bathgate, Stirling-Alloa and Hamilton-Larkhall.

The bridges include replacements for demolished bridges and former level crossings removed after the former Waverley line closed in 1969, but will leave room for only one track underneath.

The total length of double track on the 30-mile line has already been reduced by one-third from 15.5 miles to 9.5 miles. The CBR said later modifications to the bridges to enable double tracking would cost up to ten times as much as their construction.

Chairman Simon Walton said: “While there is sufficient provision for the proposed level of service, additional double track provision will be needed in future if demand levels increase, and especially if ambitions are realised for eventual extension to Hawick and Carlisle.