Moore reaffirms support for rail return

HAWICK MP Michael Moore boarded a train on the former Waverley Route and again pledged his support for the reopening of the whole line from Edinburgh to Carlisle.

Last Sunday, Mr Moore, recently appointed Scottish Secretary, was opening the Waverley Route Heritage Association's new centre at Whitrope, where he climbed into the cabin of a Hunslet diesel, which formerly worked at Hartlepool nuclear station.

And there to join him was veteran railway campaigner Madge Elliot, who took a petition to save the line to Downing Street in 1969 and whose plea fell on deaf ears.

She told the Hawick News: "It's great to be back. This is only the beginning and I hope that it will be part of a dream just like the infectious enthusiasm of the volunteers, who have made it possible."

Madge, however, then had to drive to Carlisle as the train was going nowhere. Along with its two coaches, the locomotive will continue to be repaired at Whitrope, where there are plans to develop the site as a major heritage site.

Mr Moore added: "We need to take the railway in context. Let's get to Tweedbank first and then to Hawick and Carlisle.

"The development here is about keeping the public interest alive and we need to maintain that."

The day, however, belonged to the Association. Chairman Ian Crooks unveiled ongoing, ambitious plans to take the railway forward linked into the 7 Stanes Project, and which, it hopes, will blossom into a major tourist attraction.

That is for the future. "Our immediate plans are to focus on the heritage site. But let's make sure the line comes to Tweedbank and then look at getting it from Hawick to here," said Mr Crooks.