I've just got hold of the Due Diligence Report into the Borders Railway prepared by Cyril Sweett and it makes far from sweet reading for those who have supported the project with such fervour. Yesterday the information I had came from the Sunday Herald article but in the full report there are even more damning indictments of this crackpot scheme.
• No provision within the programme to secure and undertake the necessary modifications to link the existing Network Rail track to connect to he Borders line. Nor is there even any time allocated to this task.
• The cost estimates appear understated by approximately . . . the figure is blacked out. • The programme is overly optimistic • The management of risk is logical but the financial provision is low.
In the business case analysis things go from bad to worse.
• Mathematical and methodological errors are found in the business case
• They urge caution over the economic benefits
• There is unexplained growth in the railway's patronage up to 2016, so much so that they exceed the capacity of the railway
• Given the optimistic traffic forecasts it is worrying when they are allied to significantly higher capital costs.
This is the closing paragraph in the report that is better seen than reported (click to enlarge)
If the train was hitting the buffers this report is in danger of derailing it. Given the economic climate, the recent history of schemes that are over budget and over burden the electorate, surely it's better to stop this madness now rather than just push on blindly in an act of hope of reality? This railway has always been unfit for purpose. A cut price solution aimed at justifying the building of new homes against a background of an ill thought through economic plan by a bunch of enthusiastic amateurs. The above picture from the report is surely proof of that? All too often people find it hard, having committed themselves to something, to change tack. There needs to be leadership from the Scottish Government to stop what is, on paper, a good idea that is being addressed by the wrong solution.