A REPORT summary case for a new cross-border rail link detailing the advantages of enhancing and extending the Borders Railway has been published by the Campaign for Borders Rail (CBR).

The report proposes the line, which opened in September 2015 between Edinburgh, Galashiels and Tweedbank, be extended as a through route via Hawick to Carlisle, providing a new strategic link in the national network. The CBR briefing document states ‘We believe that the Borders needs a through route to the south to maximise the region’s economic potential. For Hawick, a rail link is vital’. The briefing, which was distributed to Parliamentary candidates ahead of the Westminster General Election and made widely available to other individuals, stakeholders and organisations, sees the vision for an extended Borders Railway as an ‘exciting opportunity’.

The railway development would connect more of the places that were served by the 98-mile Waverley Route between Edinburgh and Carlisle when it closed in 1969. The existing line largely follows the course of the northern end of the old Waverley route out of Edinburgh and through Midlothian into the central Scottish Borders.

The briefing document sets out the CBR’s commercial, social and economic cases for a new railway linking the existing Tweedbank terminus to the West Coast main line at Mossband, just north of Carlisle. It also suggests extending the railway to Hawick and Carlisle is the only realistic proposal adequately to address economic and social problems faced by the Scottish Borders.

Borders Railway: this is No 158738 just south of Heriot on a Tweedbank to Edinburgh training run on 11 June 2015.
Ian Lothian