Time to get on board and ensure rail link’s success

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True to form, the train now approaching the Borders may be running late – a year we’ve been told – but at least it’s going to arrive.

On Tuesday, Scottish Transport Secretary Keith Brown signed the deal with Network Rail which will see trains run to the region for the first time since the Beeching axe fell more than 40 years ago.

And, according to council leader David Parker, the move finally nailed any doubts about the project’s delivery.

Mr Parker said that the next phase of the project, the actual construction and delivery of a rail line, will present “massive economic opportunities” for the region, adding that “once the railway reopens I know that in a very short space of time all Borderers will view it as a great asset to our region”.

So, rather than continuing the long-running and well-worn arguments against the railway, isn’t about time we accepted it is coming and instead put our energy into making sure we capitalise on the rail link by ensuring tourism and other economic opportunities are properly developed and promoted, and that supporting transport links, such as bus routes and synchronised timetables, are in place, not only for locals wanting to use the train, but for the many visitors who will hopefully opt to visit by rail.

We have a fantastic opportunity here, let’s not waste it by bickering and by failing to grasp the opportunities within our reach.

And we shouldn’t confine the tourism plans to Abbotsford, worthy though it is, because there is so much more to our region.

It’s not rocket science. So in the three years remaining before the Waverley Line opens for business, let’s be working together to ensure it is on track and successful from the off, because if it isn’t, we will only have ourselves to blame – and that includes the naysayers.