Page last updated at 09:36 GMT, Monday, 24 November 2008

Appeal to speed up railway works

Artist impression of Waverley line
Construction work is scheduled to start on the route in 2011

Councillors in south east Scotland have backed a motion calling for work on reopening the railway between Edinburgh and the Borders to be speeded up.

The starting date for construction on the Waverley line is currently 2011.

However, Scottish Borders Council has backed calls by Lib Dem councillor John Paton-Day asking for works to start sooner to help boost the local economy.

A majority of councillors supported the move although it was opposed by the SNP and the Borders Party.

Mr Paton-Day said he was sure the project would "prove its worth" and should be put in place as quickly as possible.

"The main reason is to encourage businesses back into the Borders," he said.

"It is to improve and enhance our tourism - if you have a family renting a cottage here they can get on a train going to Edinburgh.

"It would provide work in the construction of that railway plus all the peripheral things it would create."

Government decision

However, SNP councillor John Mitchell said the Scottish Government was working its way through a "mess" left by the previous Lib Dem and Labour administration.

"We are delighted if they do bring the building of any infrastructure projects forward as quickly as they can," he said.

"But that is for them to decide - I'm not a government minister, it is really for the SNP government to decide how and when these things go forward.

"They are working on that and we really have to trust them on that."

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