Bowland bridge rail plan

NETWORK Rail have submitted plans to refurbish a historic bridge as part of the Border Railway project, writes Kenny Paterson.

The transport company needs to strengthen the C listed Dryburn Bridge on the Bowland Estate north of Galashiels as part of its advanced works for the scheme.

A spokesman for Network Rail said: “At present the disused railway corridor is used by Bowland Estate as a route for farm traffic between pieces of farmland on either side of the proposed new railway.

“The proposed works to Dryburn Bridge will allow for an alternative routing for this farm traffic. The farm traffic to be accommodated on this route includes Heavy Goods Vehicles up to 40 tonnes gross vehicle weight and following assessment, the bridge requires strengthening and refurbishment to accommodate this traffic.”

The spokesman said the bridge once formed a dam with a sluice supplying water to the nearby sawmill building.

He added that the bridge was currently in a poor condition and it would need to be fully refurbish to arrest its deterioration.

A decision from Scottish Borders Council on the planning application is expected by early March.

Meanwhile, Borders MSP Christine Grahame has welcomed Network Rail’s announcement that it will invest £4billion over the next five years in the rail infrastructure in Scotland – including the £300million Borders Railway project.

Ms Grahame said: “To all of those people who said the line was going to be too costly to reinstate I would say this should allay their fears and give a final assurance that trains will be returning to the region very soon. This announcement reiterates Network Rail’s commitment to the project after it signed the transfer agreement in November.”

Ms Grahame added: “The return of train services between Edinburgh and the Central Borders after a gap of over 40 years can only be good for the local economy, for our tourist industry and for the environment in one of the most attractive areas of Scotland. Like many others I have campaigned long and hard for this project which will reconnect some parts of my constituency to the national rail network for the first time since 1969.”

Ms Grahame said the reintroduction of trains in 2015 would represent a marvellous achievement for all those involved in what she described as a crucial project.