I note that Campaign for Borders Rail (CBR) chairman Simon Walton wants refurbished Class 158 trains for the Borders Railway – but I rather think he is going to be disappointed.
The Class 158s are notoriously cramped and the refurbished ones on the Highland lines are reconfigured for journeys over 100 miles, whereas here they will only have to do 32 miles.
In any case, these trains in original configuration serve from the Central Belt down through Ayrshire and into Dumfries & Galloway to Stranraer, a route of more than 90 miles, so why should the Borders be treated any different?
As an ex-railwayman, I follow the rail industry and enthusiast press, and there have been no reports that Scotrail has any plans for refurbishment of more Class 158s, especially given that its current franchise is coming up for renewal.
Is Simon Walton aware the Class 158s have a so-far unsolved engineering problem over the last 30 years since they were first introduced in the early 1980s. It’s to do with the air conditioning which regularly fails – not good during a warm Borders summer.
Perhaps the Campaign for Borders Rail won’t be happy until Eurostar-type trains are on the Borders Railway.