Press Release – 5 February 2020

Campaign for Borders Rail Newsletter 61

Headlines include:

• Two million passengers

• Operational issues

• Extension to Carlisle

• Congratulations for Stow community

• Harsh words from local councillor

• Channel 5 features line AUDIO INTERVIEW with Rob Bell LINK:

The Campaign for Borders Rail, the group that successfully lobbies for the building of the Borders Railway in Scotland, and continues to monitor performance, and seek extension through Hawick to Carlisle, welcomes figures that show record patronage. That is the headline story in the Campaign’s latest newsletter, sent to its membership today (attached).

Chair of the Campaign, Simon Walton, is quoted, saying: “We always said that the Borders Railway would be far more popular than predicted by the discredited business case, and so it has proved, yet again.”

The figures come from the Office of Rail and Road, and Campaigners say they further strengthen the case for extending the line and making it a new cross-border link, effectively reinstating the former route that connected communities in Edinburgh, Midlothian, the Scottish Borders, Dumfries and Galloway Cumbria and Carlisle.

Chair Simon Walton adds: “The Campaign has long argued tat this is not just a railway project, and that Campaigners recognise the far wider benefits that building this railway will accrue. The strategic benefits of this railway project cannot be underestimated. It is not just about reconnecting communities it is about economic regeneration on a regional scale, about social inclusion and about environmental sustainability It is about providing opportunities for generations yet to come. Most of all it is a tangible way to achieve the economic growth and environmental sustainability that is on everyone’s agenda.”

The newsletter also goes on to praise the community grounded projects within the Sottish Borders, such as the reinvigoration of the station buildings in the village of Stow – a community that the Campaign directly challenged the promoters to serve, and successfully lobbied for the retention of the historic buildings on the station site. The newsletter also features a personal perspective from former Stow resident and local councillor Sandy Aitchison, which pulls no punches in decrying the shortcomings of the line as it stands: “ I was told it was the Waverley Line’s return. It was not!”

Further news includes the second meeting of the Borderlands Growth Initiative, in which the Campaign takes an active role; the Campaign’s highly successful 20th anniversary AGM; the forthcoming Channel 5 series Walking Britain’s Lost Railways – presenter Rob Bell gave an exclusive audio interview to Simon Walton – also linked here — in which he praises the work fo the Campaign and recognises the generational benefits of bringing rails back to the Borders as a whole.