South Scotland

Borders Railway campaign renews extension call

Train Image copyright Dougie Johnston

A campaign group has said extending the new rail line linking Edinburgh and the Borders should be a transport priority for the region.

The Campaign for Borders Rail said the "resounding success" of the route showed the huge demand for services.

It said it appreciated the area had "many and varied transport needs".

However, the group said those should be considered separately from the case to extend the railway south beyond its current Tweedbank terminus.

The CBR said the demand for services was a clear indication of the potential to capitalise on that success which could only be achieved by taking the line south to "benefit a larger catchment area".

It said consideration of roads improvements should be a separate exercise and should not be allowed to affect plans to examine the feasibility of extending the track.

The group said it welcomed confirmation that significantly more people had used the Borders Railway in its first year of operation than was initially expected.

'Incredibly popular'

The CBR said it was also looking forward to the results of a study into the potential for railway development in the Borders.

"The return of trains is incredibly popular in the Scottish Borders," said CBR chairman Allan McLean.

"The line has boosted the economies of the Borders and Midlothian. This proves that people were right to argue for so long in favour of railway services.

"The time has now come to enhance the existing route to match the level of demand and to prepare for the extension of tracks to serve more communities by train."

The Scottish government has already given a commitment to a feasibility study to look at the possibility of extending the line.

It will examine the case for an extension of the railway - along with improvements to the A1, A7, and A68 - with a report expected by the end of next year.

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