South Scotland

Electrification hope encourages Borders Railway extension ambition

Train in station Image copyright Dougie Johnston
Image caption Campaigners said it made sense to use a more modern fleet on the line

The electrification of the Borders Railway would make the viability of extending the route to Carlisle "far better", according to campaigners.

The Scottish government has confirmed it is considering the move on a number of routes around the country.

It would help to cut journey times and improve reliability on the line.

The Campaign for Borders Rail (CBR) said it believed it would also strengthen its case for taking the line past its current terminus at Tweedbank.

"This must go ahead with other infrastructure improvements as well or we won't be able to take advantage of the faster acceleration and better reliability of more modern electric trains," said chairman Simon Walton.

Image copyright Dougie Johnston
Image caption Mr Walton said taking the line to Carlisle would be more viable if it was electrified

He said that it made sense for the route to have a more modern fleet rather than being served by "ever-ageing diesel trains".

Mr Walton said the electrification could also help in their goal of seeing the line taken on into Cumbria.

"Putting the wires up does make the viability of extending the line through Hawick to Carlisle far better and that of course is the ultimate aim and ambition of the campaign," he said.

Transport Scotland confirmed it was looking at upgrading rail routes across the country.

"Electrification of Scotland's railway network is a key component of the Scottish government's commitment to improving rail services and tackling climate change," a spokeswoman said.

"We remain committed to a rolling programme of electrification, and are working with Network Rail to identify the next Scottish electrification scheme.

"Several routes are under consideration."

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