Call for Borders Railway extension to Carlisle renewed during Lamington work
Campaigners say the closure of the West Coast Main Line due to storm damage has strengthened their case to extend the Borders Railway to Carlisle.
Repair works are expected to continue at the Lamington Viaduct in South Lanarkshire until March.
The Campaign for Borders Rail said taking the line beyond its Tweedbank terminus would create an alternative route between Edinburgh and Carlisle.
A feasibility study is planned into the viability of lengthening the route.
The Edinburgh to Tweedbank line opened to passengers last year but the CBR would like to see that taken on to Carlisle in due course.
"The current terminus of the Borders Railway at Tweedbank between Galashiels and Melrose should only be regarded as temporary," said chairman Allan McLean.
"The case for reinstating tracks all the way from Tweedbank to Carlisle is strengthened by the news that closure of the other route between Edinburgh and Carlisle through Lockerbie will go on for longer than expected."
He said alternative services between Carlisle and Glasgow had been provided because the diversionary route via Dumfries and Kilmarnock was kept.
"By contrast, passengers between north west England and Edinburgh are having to use rail-replacement buses or suffer lengthy detours," he added.
"If there was still a direct line of rails between the capital of Scotland and the Cumbrian city of Carlisle through the Scottish Borders, much damage to the economy could have been avoided."
The Scottish government has said it remains committed to supporting the development of a feasibility study on extending the route through to Carlisle.