The Borderlands Partnership said it has published a Borders Railway Prospectus which “will inform ongoing discussions with the UK and Scottish governments for the extension of the Borders Railway to Carlisle.”
Work to assess extension of the Edinburgh-Tweedbank Borders Railway to Carlisle is part of the £452 million Borderlands Inclusive Growth Deal, signed on March 18 by the 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.
£10 million has been allocated to support this work.
The prospectus will be discussed at the planned meeting between Scottish Government Cabinet Secretary for Finance and the Economy Kate Forbes and the Borderlands Partnership later this month.
The prospectus outlines the Borderlands Partnership’s views on where and how “the railway extension would result in positive transformational change in the Borderlands region and help to address a regional connectivity need, whilst also having the potential to provide solutions at a UK level for enhancing cross border capacity, resilience and connectivity.”
Elaine Murray, leader of Dumfries and Galloway Council and Borderlands Partnership co-chair, said: “The Borders Railway offers the opportunity to build on the success of the initial phase, which re-established a rail line between Edinburgh and Tweedbank.
“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.
“The Borderlands Partnership was successful in making a strong case work to consider the extension of the Borders Railway across the border to Carlisle in the Deal.
“The Prospectus provides information that builds a strong foundation for taking forward the study and shows its importance for the overall Deal.”
Stewart Young, leader of Cumbria County Council and Borderlands Partnership co-chair, said: “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, as well as capitalise on the nationally significant infrastructure investment from HS2 and the proposed modification of rail infrastructure at Carlisle to allow high speed trains to call at the station.”
Scottish Borders Council leader Shona Haslam said: “The re- establishment of a rail line between Edinburgh and the central Scottish Borders has brought immense and wide-ranging benefits that we continue to try to maximise.
“Scottish Borders Council has made a case for the extension of the line to Hawick and on to Carlisle for some time, and together with the other Borderlands local authority partners we are reaffirming and strengthening that case in the Prospectus.
“We look forward to continued discussions with both the UK and Scottish Governments around over the coming weeks and months.”