When one considers the huge cost – in the region of £300million – of restoring rail services to the central Borders, the price tag for ensuring trains that run on the track are of a high standard must be pretty small beer.
The Campaign for Borders Rail is right to press for the refurbishment of the Class 158 diesels, which will be used on the Tweedbank-Edinburgh line next year, to be on a par with those serving the scenic Highland routes. As campaigner Simon Walton correctly points out, first impressions are important.
Giving commuters and tourists the best possible experience in terms of comfort and space will help make the route a success – and, in the case of the latter section of customers, the beautiful Borders countryside should do the rest. Even First Minister Alex Salmond, on a visit to this region last summer, emphasised the importance of giving people the best while “travelling along this incredible rail route”.
Emerging from the teeth of, at times, fierce opposition, this region is now getting a potentially-tremendous asset and everything must be done to capitalise on this.
We don’t think campaigners are asking for too much – after all, what’s good enough for the Highlands should be good enough for the Borders.