Hunt for long-lost rail blueprint begins

Picture Sarah Peters.
Picture Sarah Peters.

Gathering dust in some filing cabinet for the past 20 years or more is a document detailing how direct train services between Lanark and Edinburgh could be quickly and economically restored.

The man now put in charge of the campaign to have such services returned after a break of half a century states that he knows such a plan exists because he talked to the man who drew it up for British

Rail before it was privatised out of existence by the UK government at the turn of the century.

Over the years, the Royal Burgh of Lanark Community Council has led calls for the restoration of trains between the town and the capital, and at its latest meeting it decided to appoint its latest member, Ed Archer, to take responsibility for finally getting results.

He lost his seat as Lanark’s independent South Lanarkshire Council member in May’s election but he has now been co-opted onto the community council.

On his appointment last week, Ed said that it was a task he was relishing.

He revealed: “The old British Rail actually had a fully-costed scheme to bring the services back that would have been feasible and affordable.

“I know this because I talked to the man who drew it up for them, and that document is still on a shelf or in a filing cabinet somewhere in the railway industry.

“I see this as a two-stage process, starting off with getting the bus services from Lanark to Carstairs Junction to match up to the trains from there to Edinburgh.

“Of course, restoring direct train services from Lanark is the ultimate aim, and that old British Rail scheme was fully costed on how it could be done. There was also a technical plan, showing how it was possible.”

Now he is to embark on sending letters to “anyone and everyone” who could help find that lost Lanark-Edinburgh rail blueprint.