The Scottish Executive has agreed to provide £115 million of the £150 million needed to fund the re-opening of the Waverley line from Edinburgh to the Borders, it was announced on 14 March 2005 (see Nos 257, 418).  It will run from Newcraighall through stations at Shawfair, Eskbank, Newtongrange, Gorebridge, Galashiels and Tweedbank.  The funding is contingent, however, on assumptions in the business case for the line – about customer levels, containment of costs by way of a comprehensive strategy from the scheme’s backers, and housing growth projections – being made good (how is not clear).  The Strategic Rail Authority has said that it is unlikely that the line will ever be profitable.  And there is the £35 million plus shortfall to cover as well.  There may continue to be a space where the line might be.

Searching for other stories with which to replace the Skye Bridge entertainment, Scots Law News has also come across a scheme to build a road tunnel from the mainland at John O’Groats to South Ronaldsay in Orkney.  See further http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/4331889.stm.  The scheme would cost at least £100 million.  If this gets the go-ahead, one could imagine the story running and running in a way to make the Skye Bridge pale into insignificance – remember the Channel Tunnel.  However, it appears that the Norwegians know how to do this sort of thing and would be brought in if the job got going.