Trains, Planes & Automobiles
In the early days of Bella, Mr Williamson had an idea for a feature called ‘Letter Bombs’ – all the letters that national newspapers refused to publish. ‘All the news unfit to print’, that kind of thing. Mibbe it’s an idea worth revisiting?
Anyway, here’s one that the Scotsman found too critical to publish so we have. It’s on the subject of railways, so not the most sexy-glamorous topic, but an important one.
THE BORDERS RAILWAY
The Scotsman headlines the story that Carillion are withdrawing from the IMCD Consortium tendering for the Borders Railway contract, implies a consortium dropout (though giving few details), then tries to kill the project off in a frothing editorial. The Campaign for Borders Rail (CBR) has welcomed Transport Scotland’s statement that works will be underway in the winter of 2011 with passenger services running by 2014, and that changes to consortia make-up are not uncommon on contracts of this size.
CBR fully support the funding method proposed by the Scottish Government and Transport Scotland and their attempts to reduce rail construction and maintenance costs in line with the recently published McNulty Report. Recently completed Scottish contracts such as the Airdrie–Bathgate line have come in on time & under budget, and recent rail line and station re-openings in Scotland have all been huge successes – reassuring as Peak Oil and the $ 200 or even $ 300 barrel inexorably approach.
On 9 June, Keith Brown, Minister for Housing and Transport, wrote to CBR stating that “the Scottish Government is determined to ensure that for the first time in over 40 years, people living in the Borders and Lothians can benefit from a direct rail link connecting the regions to the Capital and the Scottish Rail Network.” Mr Brown is MSP for Alloa, where the anticipated 155,000 passengers per year at reopening in 2008 turned out to be over 400,000.
“Facts are chiels, an’ all that … ” The Scotsman’s circulation, 100,000 in 2000, is now under 40,000. We are confident that the Waverley line will reopen in 2014, the bicentenary of Sir Walter Scott’s great novel. We are less confident that the Scotsman will be there to greet it.
Christopher Harvie, Lorne and Maureen Anton, Richard Crockett, Bill Jamieson, Sarah Nelson, David Spaven.