Regenerating Scotland’s economy by reopening rail lines


The Borders Railway has been a big success in many ways. Obviously, it’s a popular new commuter line into Edinburgh but there’s more, much more and the question is should we be re-opening more lines given the evidence below:

First, from Scottish Tourism Economic Assessment Monitor (STEAM) the statistics below reveal for 2016 as opposed to2015 before the line was open:

• The number of visitor days in hotels and bed and breakfasts has risen by 27 per cent
• A 20 per cent rise in visitor spend on food and drink
• Visitor spend on accommodation is up 17 per cent
• A 16 per cent rise in overall visitor spend
• The number of days visitors stayed in the Borders has increased by almost 11 per cent
• Eight per cent increase in employment related to tourism

• A 12.3 per cent rise in the number of visitor days in hotels and bed and breakfasts compared with first six months of 2015
• Visitor spend on food and drink in same period rose by 6.5 per cent
• Overall visitor spend was up 6.8 per cent
• The number of days visitors stayed in Midlothian increased by 7.2 per cent
• A 4.1 per cent improvement in employment related to tourism.

Quite impressive, I’d say

Second a new brewery has opened and the railway gets at least some of the credit:

‘The proud boast of Tempest Brewing is “designed and built in the Scottish borders” – and this small craft brewery has taken its own words to heart. It’s been able to expand in part because of where it is now based, close to the new Tweedbank railway station. Tempest, which tripled sales and began exporting in the year following its move in 2015, chose the new location as it is a few minutes’ walk from the station at the southern end of the Borders railway.’

So, if this has worked so well, shouldn’t we be opening other lines? What about re-opening the ‘Deeside’ from Aberdeen to Ballater? Surely that’d be a winner?  Any suggestions readers?

11 thoughts on “Regenerating Scotland’s economy by reopening rail lines

  1. macgilleleabhar March 13, 2017 / 1:33 pm

    A new line initially from Peterhead to Aberdeen should also be feasible.


  2. ebreah March 13, 2017 / 1:59 pm


    On the issue of railways, Scotland needs to invest heavily in reopening former lines and upgrade existing ones. Three are in contention; Borders railway to be fully extended to Carlisle (or at least till Hawick), Dumfries-Portpatrick line and Dyce-Peterhead & Fraserburgh line (Formartine & Buchan Railway). One line requiring upgrade in order to carry passengers is the Edinburgh Suburban and Morningside Railway. The tracks are still being used for freight. These four must be functioning in order to increase connectivity. Deeside Railway is a good line to reopened but I consider it as important only. The previous four are a necessity.

    As the Borders Railway has shown, bringing back a railway can benefit the economy and the area enormously. If we can combine passenger and intra-city rail travel and integrate it with non-rail transportation, a lot of things can be potentially achieved.

    Today, that hope has been given a boost 🙂

    As always thank you for the good news. Most appreciated.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. macgilleleabhar March 13, 2017 / 7:45 pm

    I may be reaching too far but on a new build shouldn’t we consider making the track suitable for “Bi-Level” carriages as Bombardier already build them in Canada?


      • ebreah March 17, 2017 / 2:13 pm

        I don’t remember the exact terminology but it has to with tunnel clearance level. Apparent most tunnels were built in the Victorian era, as such bi-level trains are unable to pass through.


  4. Alasdair Macdonald March 13, 2017 / 8:23 pm

    As is your intention, you are presenting a picture of success arising from the Borders railway, and, it is a success. But how does the press report it? Bus services being withdrawn!!

    You have been involved in academic studies of journalism, so why is the ‘bad’ reported, usually, rather than the ‘good’, unless it is a pro Tory story? Do they recruit people into journalism whose mindset is to see the cloud attached to every silver lining?

    I recall and HMI report about a local primar school, which was uniformly praising. As is required, the inspectors had three ‘points for action’, which, given the nature of the report, were fairly trifling. Yet the local newspaper, under a heading, ‘Could do better’, had a five paragraph report, four of which related to the three points for action. The fifth simply stated that ‘the inspectors identified some positives.’


  5. johnrobertson834 March 13, 2017 / 8:49 pm

    Journos don’t seem to question what they do just what others do.


  6. Contrary March 13, 2017 / 8:57 pm

    Would be great if many more lines were opened – it would really reduce car travel and all sorts. I understand that railways have to be subsidised, but it would be worth it surely?

    During the EU referendum I heard that the railway unions were calling for support to leave the EU because of their integrated transport policy which was claimed to say that railways need to be privatised. It took a bit of searching, and only now the final parts of the regulations have been put in place, but from what I understood of the rules it appears they say that ownership of the tracks cannot be held by the same group that owns the trains. (Not QUITE ‘have to privatise’, which the uk government had already done well ahead of time! And failed to do well). One of the things the EU wants to standardise are the tracks, so trains from any country can run throughout the EU. I am not sure of why make the ownership rules – I can’t see the logic in that one, and it will be interesting if Scotland has to follow standardising tracks rules,,, when trains can only pass though a brexited non-standard England. Maybe we need a new rail tunnel? 🙂 Or could you convert oil tankers into Train-ships maybe?

    I would also be fascinated to know why journalists tend to only report the negative. Or is that a question for a sociologist?


  7. johnrobertson834 March 14, 2017 / 9:51 am

    ‘I would also be fascinated to know why journalists tend to only report the negative. Or is that a question for a sociologist?’ It’s a culture going back to the 18th Century which they never question. They never question themselves. When I do they they say I don’t understand journalism as if its rule came down on a stone tablet.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s