Safety night-mare

editorial image
Share this article

A prize-winning horse rider claims a tiny back road has been turned into a motorway by huge lorries servicing the Borders Railway.

But Stephanie Tristam has welcomed the announcement that BAM Nuttall will open a temporary access route at Fountainhall next week, meaning vehicles working on-site no longer need to use Old Stage Road between the village and Heriot.

Mrs Tristam, who regularly uses the route to train eight- year-old American quarter horse Chinook in her chosen discipline of Western Riding, has been forced to practice at Earlston this week because of her safety fears.

She told us last week: “I’m terrified that if I do take the horse out and I meet one of the lorries the horse might bolt and throw me off.

“It is very, very dangerous – people on bikes and children use the road.It is just a matter of time until something happens. There are so many little bends on the road, even in a car you have got to watch out.”

Mrs Tristam, who is seeking compensation for the disruption, has since spoken to railway representatives who explained they were working hard to put in place the stop-gap solution.

She said this week: “BAM Nuttall have been good at informing us of what is going on and are obviously doing their best, but there are safety concerns. This is a huge transformation for the area and although BAM Nuttall are working as quickly as possible, I don’t think people 
realised quite what it would be like.”

Network Rail’s communications manager Craig Bowman told The Southern on Tuesday: “A temporary road will be build from the A7 into the site.

“It will be at the same area as where the permanent access road is being constructed, which is expected to be completed by the end of the year.”

He added: “We want to remove the risk of heavy plant machinery being on Old Stage Road.

“Various options have been looked at, including boosting the weight restriction on the bridge, but that was not deemed feasible.”

Fountainhall is expected to see 185 workers based in the village at its peak, following the opening of the Borders Railway’s central hub there last month.

Meanwhile, in Stow, a planning application was submitted on Monday to build its two railway platforms and footbridge.

The plans also detail a car park, waiting shelters and platform seating at the site close to the primary school.