Support for Borders Railway line extension

An industry coalition has backed an extension of the Borders Railway as a means to guarantee cross-border trade and facilitate three-hour journeys between London and Glasgow.

Thursday, 1st October 2020, 7:07 am
The Borders Railway at Eskbank

Jim Steer, director of the High Speed Rail Group, has reiterated his support in the latest edition of the Campaign for Borders Rail newsletter. Writing a guest column, Jim Steer says a shift in emphasis, to make Carlisle a connecting hub for future HS2 services, not only puts Cumbria on the High Speed map, but it also makes a completed Borders Railway a vital part of the national network, calling it “a force for economic and social regeneration”.

Mr Steer added that freight traffic routed through and also originating in the Borderlands is becoming more commercially attractive.

“Freight companies crave service dependability. Investing in the rail option has to work, every day, year-round. Having a usable alternative route north of Carlisle to reach the freight terminals in Scotland’s central belt will be a real boost to market confidence.”

Simon Walton, chairman of the Campaign for Borders Rail, said the recognition of the strategic importance of a completed Borders Railway was entirely in line with the campaign’s position.

He said: “Completing the Borders Railway, through Hawick and on to Carlisle provides a nationally important infrastructure asset.

“It is also hugely beneficial to the Borderlands region and a force for economic and social regeneration for communities at a local level.”

Mr Walton went on to agree with the High Speed Rail Group position on the connectivity afforded to the national network. “This communications spine will unlock an entire network of opportunities within the Borderlands,” he said.

“The advantage of a new cross-border rail link lies in the capacity made available on existing routes while opening up new markets to the Borders.”