Posted 30th September 2011 | 1 Comment

Reassurance after Borders Rail contractors walk away

PRIVATE contractors have lost interest in building the Borders Railway between Edinburgh and Tweedbank, so the project is to be completed by Network Rail instead. Transport Scotland said the line would still open on time in 2014.

The project appeared to have hit a crisis when two of the three private sector contenders to build the line withdrew their bids.

Scottish transport minister Keith Brown said on 29 September: “We continue to be steadfastly committed to this vital scheme and we are actively managing and making prudent decisions to ensure efficient delivery as quickly as possible.

“Despite early enthusiasm from bidders, it is disappointing that two consortia dropped out for their own commercial reasons. Following the withdrawal of IMCD from the procurement in the summer, we said we would consider our options to find the right way forward to deliver the project for the best value in the shortest possible time. Today’s announcement concludes that process."

He continued: “Network Rail has confirmed it is pleased to be asked to take this project forward and I am confident it is able to deliver the project within budget and with significant ongoing savings to the public purse. I am pleased to have the opportunity to build on the success of the Airdrie to Bathgate project which also featured a partnership between Transport Scotland and Network Rail.”

Transport Scotland said the capital cost of the project is expected to be within the £235 million to £295 million range, and that ministers 'remain committed' to the target date of December 2014.

But opposition politicians were unconvinced, and were reported to have claimed that the Borders project had 'hit the buffers'.

Meanwhile Network Rail has yet to comment, although its new Initial Industry Plan for Scotland contains the words: 'All existing Transport Scotland commitments are taken as given, which includes [the] Borders Rail Link'.

Reader Comments:

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  • Tony Pearce, Reading , UK

    Firms don't just 'walk away' from a project that will create jobs and profits.

    There's more to this than meets the eye.

    But if Network Rail are going to take over this project then that's really good news as they shouldn't be able to 'walk away' even if costs, or some other problem, rears it head.

    But I'd love to know what has really happened here.