Fares, rail policy and DfT news

01.04.19

UK Government announces support for feasibility study into Borders Railway extension

The UK Government has announced its backing for a feasibility study into an extension of the Borders Railway.

The plans could see the 30-mile route between Edinburgh and Tweedbank extended a further 18 miles to Hawick, Newcastleton and Carlisle.

Scottish secretary David Mundell confirmed the government’s support for the extension in a letter to MP John Lamont as part of the Borderlands Growth Deal.

John Stevenson, MP for Carlisle and the government’s Borderlands Deal Champion, wrote about the Borderland’s untapped potential for growth in the region back in our June/July 2018 issue.

Lamont called it “great news” for the campaign, and said: “We need to improve transport links across the whole of the Borders and extending the Borders Railway is part of this.”

“A full feasibility study will look in detail at the costs and benefits of bringing the railway to Hawick, Newcastleton and on to Carlisle.

“I'd expect this to look at things like impact on businesses, jobs and tourism, as well as the implications of getting freight off our roads.

“With the UK Government now publicly backing the study, the ball is now very much in the SNP’s court.”

The Scottish Government already supports the Borders Railway extension, and recently published the Borders Transport Corridor Study.

Barbara Elborn of the Newcastleton and District Community Trust, said it was a “huge leap forward” for the campaign to extend the line, and that those who have lived through the last 50 years without the line have “no doubts about the rewards it will bring.”

“There is absolutely no doubt that the benefits of reinstating the line will be felt by all within in the Borderlands Growth Deal catchment, but a feasibility study that delves deep to understand the full opportunities, and in our view that must include freight, will fully answer all those who doubt it.”

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