I note that First Minister Alex Salmond said the Borders Railway could become one of the must-see tourist lines in Europe and that a feasibility study will look at how it could transform tourist potential.
I used to work in the local upmarket hospitality trade and I think a tourism study should have been done long before the line was authorised, not now – talk about putting the proverbial cart before the horse.
I am in my sixties and remember many weekend and holiday journeys on the Waverley route from Galashiels to the city and, frankly, it was never very picturesque. From the city southwards until past Gorebridge, the reinstated line will pass through an increasingly built-up and commercial and industrial landscape, then once through cuttings and over Falahill will traverse the bottom of a valley until Galashiels.
No high-level panoramic views from viaducts of land beneath will be possible like on these must-see tourist lines in Europe I have been on in Switzerland and Austria.
I have always had a very keen interest in transport and railways in partcular, and I am adamant that the plans to spend up to £5million on housing the Great Tapestry of Scotland at Tweedbank is a back-door way of trying to boost off-peak travel on the railway because those responsible for building the it know full well it won’t produce the passenger numbers predicted south of Midlothian, but are afraid to admit such.
I note Alex Salmond omitted any mention of commuter potential in his speech last week – perhaps a sign those in charge realise commuters won’t get out their cars in a hurry. I, for one, will use my bus pass to go to the city.