Posted 11th April 2017 | 8 Comments

Borders Railway could be extended to Carlisle

THE Borders Railway could be restored completely to Carlisle, as one of a series of projects which is set to be examined by Transport Scotland.

TS said it intended to award the contract to carry out the study to Jacobs UK.

The study is expected to take about seven months to complete, and the prospect of reopening the rest of the line beyond Tweedbank through Hawick to Carlisle will be welcomed by transport campaigners, who have been calling for such an extension to be built.

The section between Newcraighall in the south of Edinburgh and Tweedbank was opened in September 2015, and in January this year the Scottish Tourism Economic Assessment Monitor reported that visitors to Midlothian had spent 16 per cent more in the first half of 2016 compared with a year earlier, which was before the railway had opened. The number of days visitors spent in the Borders also rose by 11 per cent.

At the time, Councillor Stuart Bell of the Scottish Borders Council said: “Tourism is absolutely vital to the Scottish Borders' economy, and that is why this substantial rise in tourism activity in the first half of 2016 is so important. For the first time in a decade, the Borders have shown improved results in every category – the only area of mainland Scotland to do so for this period.”

The line, also known as the Waverley Route, was closed in the face of protests in 1969 when it was considered to be an unnecessary duplicate of the West and East Coast main lines.

But the success of the restored railway through Galashiels to Tweedbank, which has at times suffered from overcrowding, has boosted official interest in taking the trains further.

Transport minister Humza Yousaf said: “In the Scottish Government’s Programme for Government a commitment was given to examine the case for an extension of the Borders railway along with improvements to the A1, A7 and A68.

“We want to build on the existing Borders railway by considering whether it should be extended to Carlisle. The study will also look at how we improve access from the Scottish Borders to key markets in Edinburgh, Carlisle and Newcastle.
“Working with partners in Scottish Borders Council and SEStran, Transport Scotland will identify a range of options for improving transport that can be considered as part of the review of the Strategic Transport Projects Review which will look at future transport infrastructure projects for the whole of Scotland. These options could include new rail services, improvements to existing road infrastructure and improved public transport provision.”

Reader Comments:

Views expressed in submitted comments are that of the author, and not necessarily shared by Railnews.

  • Roland Harmer, Bristol

    Just do it! And lots more - Oakhampton to Bere Alston, Harrogate to Ripon, Portishead to Bristol, Colne to Skipton, Dyce to Fraserbrugh and so on.

  • Brian Johnstone, Nehale

    This would make me feel more like returning to Hawick from the US west coast, as I'd like not to need a car -maybe just rent on now and again- considering the price o' petrol ower there. The US is UTTERLY dependent on the automobile after having a pretty good nationwide railway system until the late 1940's, when it was scuppered by buying it, then turning around and selling most of it off so they could open new auto production facilities. I agree that the Border line should be double-track but one is better than nowt.

  • claydon william, Norwich, Norfolk

    @ Melvyn Windebank, Canvey Island, Essex
    .......while the full reinstated Line will run into England where there is not as good a system as the Scottish Government to fight for and plan Rail extensions.

    .......hopefully Melvyn, that will come with Andrew Adonis and the new 'Infrastructure Commission'. I wouldn't recommend holding your breath though.......

  • claydon william, Norwich, Norfolk

    Something else Holyrood will want the good old English taxpayers to pay for.

    There are probably two-dozen more deserving rail projects south of the Border with better rates of return; (apart from HS4); but this will no doubt be on Queen Nicolas' 'bribe' list as we head toward 'indieref2'.

    I've read a lot about how superb ridership has been along Edinburgh-Tweedbank, but the figures I'd really like to see are revenues over cost.

    Lets see those figures please before we upset too many more sheep......

    [Why? The notion that passenger railways can be profitable in a direct sense probably died with Serpell in 1982 -- and then it was a very overdue realisation. This is not the place for a long essay, but passenger railways were rarely profitable on their own. It was the revenue from goods traffic which made the better companies rich in the 19th century, and as lorries took over after the First World War their financial state worsened -- moving into irreconcilable deficit in the mid-1950s. Franchised TOCs make a profit (usually), by the way, because their business plans are designed to produce a return, but EVERY British passenger km is subsidised on average by c.3.5p. For more on this please see my website]

  • jim keatings, dunfermline

    This line is crucial for the economy of Hawick and beyond,It is badly needed to rejuvenate the area.
    It should never have been closed in the first place.
    Please rebuild this line and connect it all the way to Carlisle.

  • Tony Pearce, Reading

    If Scotland ever votes to leave the UK, this line will become very Political. The Borders are united against Scottish Independence and will always look towards the UK.

  • Melvyn Windebank, Canvey Island, Essex

    While this is good news it will surely need work to replace the errors made on the first section to be corrected . Given the lack of passive provisions for double track at many Bridge structures and the reduced double track installed on the current route .

    Extension to Hawick could for the next stage which could include more double track where space allows but this would need to be located where trains can pass each other as happens at points along the London DLR .

    While full reinstated Line will run into England where there is not as good a system as the Scottish Government to fight for and plan Rail extensions.

  • Chris Neale, West Sussex

    That will put Hawick back on the map at last! The sooner the better!