The UK Government has announced it is backing a full feasibility study into bringing the Borders Railway to Hawick, Newcastleton and on to Carlisle.
In a follow up letter to Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk MP John Lamont, who raised the issue in Westminster last week, the Secretary of State for Scotland, David Mundell MP confirmed the UK Government backed the study as part of the £345 million Borderlands Growth Deal.
As the deal is jointly funded by the UK and Scottish Government, the progress of the study is now dependent on Scottish Ministers agreeing to give it the go ahead.
It is expected that the Heads of Terms for the £345m Borderlands Growth Deal will be signed off in June, meaning the feasibility study could begin as early as this year.
The news has been warmly welcomed by John Lamont MP who has been campaigning for Borderlands to include this study.
John Lamont MP said: “This is great news for the campaign to bring the Borders Railway to Hawick and beyond.
“We need to improve transport links across the whole of the Borders and extending the Borders Railway is part of this.
“A full feasibility study will look in detail at the costs and benefits of bringing the railway to Hawick, Newcastleton and on to Carlisle. I’d expect this to look at things like impact on businesses, jobs and tourism as well as the implications of getting freight off our roads.
“With the UK Government now publicly backing the study, the ball is now very much in the SNP’s court. Back in 2016, the First Minister went to Hawick and promised a feasibility study. It is time to fulfil this promise with some funding and get this campaign properly moving.”