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Railwatch 084 - June 2000


By David Hansen (davidhansen@compuserve.com)

Slow progress The Edinburgh CrossRail scheme now has full funding and is going ahead. The Larkhall scheme is still being delayed, it seems to have enemies in high places.

No progress Edinburgh Park station exists in the timetable, with time allowed for trains to stop, but on the ground not a single brick exists. This station was intended to be built on its own, but the council wrapped it up in its ill-conceived guided bus scheme. Th~s should have been running last year. RDS has campaigned for years to unwrap the station from guided buses, with no success.

No visible progress The railway line to the Borders has high public support and party politicians will not criticise it in public. However their actions reveal a different story. Despite £2.5million to investigate sustainable transport, Midlothian Council has adopted a road-based transport strategy, with turning the A701 into a dual carriageway being its main plank. Money does not grow on trees and party politicians need to decide whether they want a railway, or more road building. The Scottish government failed spectacularly on this issue, by failing to call a public enquiry into the road, thus preventing a democratic discussion of all the issues. Our Transport and Environment Minister has lost a lot of friends by this crass and incompetent decision.

Some progress Around Scotland a number of small improvements are being made, so all is not doom and gloom. The operators say that for major improvements to services additional infrastructure is needed. Funding this infrastructure is a problem. The Scottish Parliament has accepted three inflation-busting increases in road building, while railway funding remains patchy.

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