Safety concerns at Stow station

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Assurances are being sought over the safety of schoolchildren in Stow when the Borders Railway becomes fully operational on Sunday.

Mum of five Joanne McBeath, a member of the parent-council at Stow Primary, just yards from the line, said unease among parents had been heightened by the revelation that around a third of all trains will not stop at the station.

“The trains which stop will pass the school at 15mph while those which don’t will be doing 70mph,” she explained

Last month, Mrs McBeath used Freedom of Information (FoI) legislation to ask Network Rail for copies of “quantitative risk assessments” for these through trains.

“I particularly wanted to see those sections on the risk of derailment and the risk of children trespassing on the line,” said Mrs McBeath.

She has now been told by Network Rail it does not hold such documents, prompting her to submit a similar request to Scottish Borders Council.

“I would like to see risk assessment data relating to the safety of the school for trains travelling at 70mph from Edinburgh, given the significant bend which precedes the station on which trains will be angled directly at the school playground,” states her new request.

Mrs McBeath also wants the council to provide the documents which informed the decision not to seek compulsory purchase of the school under the Waverley Railway legislation.

“The school is as close to the track as many buildings which have been razed to the ground because of the railway,” said Mrs McBeath. The council has until the middle of this month to respond.

Meanwhile, another Stow resident is demanding an immediate review of the railway timetable as it affects the village.

“This has cast a considerable shadow over the opening of the railway for people here,” says Wendy Binnie in a letter to Scottish infrastructure minister Keith Brown MSP.

“It is with dismay and not a little anger that we learn at this late stage that about a third of the trains will not stop at Stow station.

“Given that, as we now discover, the relevant authorities have been aware of the proposed timetable as early as 2014 … it is completely unacceptable that there has been no local consultation with community councils or local residents and businesses on timetable arrangements.

“Transport Scotland has indicated it is open to review the situation … I ask you to ensure such a review is undertaken with immediate effect.”