The Borderlands Partnership Board has today welcomed the Scottish Government’s commitment to the feasibility activity for the continuation of the Borders Railway from Tweedbank to Carlisle included in the Scottish Government’s Strategic Transport Projects Review 2 (STPR2) report.
Recognised as an important regional priority by the Cabinet Secretary and Minister for Transport in communication with the Borderlands Council Leaders yesterday, the Partnership has been encouraged to continue to work with Transport Scotland and other key partners to deliver the commitment in the Borderlands Inclusive Growth Deal to assess the benefits and challenges of options to extend line to Carlisle.
The publication of the review report starts a period of twelve weeks of consultation.
The acknowledgement of the potential for the scheme demonstrates the impact of the Partnership’s activities to promote the scheme, including the recently published Borders Railway Prospectus which highlighted the project’s potential to contribute to improving cross-border connections and deliver against wider net zero carbon and social inclusion priorities.
Cllr Elaine Murray, Leader of Dumfries and Galloway Council and Borderlands Partnership co-chair, said: “Whilst we welcome the inclusion of the Borders Railway extension in the findings of STPR 2, we do believe that this should be considered a national priority due to its potential benefits, and we will continue to make that case strongly to both governments as we take the next steps towards a feasibility study.
“The Borderlands Partnership was successful in making a strong case for consideration of the extension of the Borders Railway across the border to Carlisle in the Deal and it remains a priority for the Partnership.
“The usage of the initial phase of the Borders Railway line extension has exceeded the forecast of the business case by up to a factor of ten. In practice, the benefits have been much higher, and particularly at the local level where evidence points towards substantial impacts on the delivery of economic and social benefits.”
Cllr Stewart Young, Leader of Cumbria County Council and Borderlands Partnership co-chair, added: “The extension of the Borders Railway offers the opportunity to build on the success of the re-establishment of a rail line between Edinburgh and Tweedbank and we all welcome this endorsement from the STPR 2 and look forward to further discussions with the various partners.”
The Prospectus is available on the Borderlands website along with a shorter summary document.
The £452m Borderlands Inclusive Growth Deal was signed on 18 March 2021 by both UK and Scottish Governments, and the five Borderlands partners - Carlisle City Council, Cumbria County Council, Dumfries and Galloway Council, Northumberland County Council and Scottish Borders Council.