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Last Updated: Monday, 11 February 2008, 13:50 GMT
'Make the region more accessible'
Liam Beattie
Liam Beattie regularly travels the route of the proposed line
The project to reopen the Waverley railway line between Edinburgh and the Scottish Borders has proved contentious from the outset.

Writing for the BBC Scotland news website, Liam Beattie, a member of the Scottish Youth Parliament, explains the benefits of the project as he sees them.

Getting from A to B in as short a time as possible has never been more important - and it is even more so for young people.

If you live in Galashiels and wish to go to Edinburgh you have to sit on a bus for over one hour and 15 minutes, and that can vary depending on traffic on the roads.

With car travel becoming ever more popular I cannot see travelling by bus as the alternative for getting to Edinburgh from the Scottish Borders.

For young people who have no choice but to use public transport it is becoming a major turn away to staying in the Scottish Borders when they are older.

Stow
The line will have a station at Stow in the Borders

It is only too often when I am coming off a train from the Scottish Youth Parliament that I see myself having to stand and wait in the cold and rain on the dreaded X95 back home. I am faced with a two hour 15 minute journey home, yet by car it is only one hour 15 minutes.

It was discovered that it was quicker to travel to Edinburgh by steam train in the 1930s than it is by bus today.

It is called it an 'express service'. However, for frequent users of the service, it can feel anything but.

However, all is not lost as in June 2006 the Scottish Parliament voted to pass the Waverley Railway Bill.

This was seen as a historic day for the Scottish Borders.

By opening the Waverley railway line it will serve almost 200,000 people - both in Midlothian and the Scottish Borders - who currently have no access to the Scottish railway network.

Reduce emissions

This will also reduce congestion on the A7 and A68 thus reducing accidents on these roads.

It will also cut over 700,000 car journeys per year, reducing vehicle emissions into the environment.

With jobs becoming harder to find for young people in the Scottish Borders the railway will create over 550 sustainable jobs within five years of completion of the project.

The completion of the railway will also benefit the tourist industry in the region, with tourists using the line to visit the beautiful Border hills and local attractions.

Preparatory works
Preparatory works got under way on the route last year

Through talking to young people in my constituency a very small number have said that it won't ever reach my home town of Hawick and that it is only single-tracked.

However, I believe that if the railway does return to the central Borders it will act as a catalyst and will be extended to Hawick and double-tracked.

Isn't it better to have a railway line that can be improved and extended than not to have one at all?

If we want to stop the declining population of the Scottish Borders and make the area more attractive to young people then making the region more accessible by reopening the Waverley railway to Tweedbank is the only option.

As the member of the Scottish Youth Parliament for Roxburgh and Berwickshire I fully support the reopening of the Waverley Railway to Tweedbank and hopefully to Hawick in the near future.


SEE ALSO
Public votes down Waverley scheme
17 Jan 08 |  South of Scotland
Road testing the Waverley line
23 Jul 07 |  South of Scotland
Urgent talks on rail plan sought
29 Jun 07 |  South of Scotland
Waverley target 'not achievable'
28 Jun 07 |  South of Scotland
Waverley funds studied 'closely'
14 Jun 07 |  South of Scotland

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