Press Release – 1st March 2022

CBR considers professional study

Campaign looks ahead to Borders Railway Extension Study

The Campaign for Borders Rail is considering commissioning its own research to support the case for extending the Edinburgh – Tweedbank railway to Hawick and Carlisle, thereby establishing a sustainable and socially inclusive communications and economic regeneration corridor throughout the Borderlands, fully integrated with the national rail network. The news comes as the Campaign publishes its latest newsletter, distributed to members throughout the United Kingdom and abroad.

Guarded response to government reviews

The Campaign for Borders Rail (CBR) has expressed disappointment at the lack of progress made in the two recently published and government-backed documents – the second stage of the Holyrood “Strategic Transport Projects Review” (STPR2) and the Westminster initiated “Union Connectivity Review”. Neither document gives any substantial weight to the economic, social and environmental benefits of extending the Borders Railway. The published version of the Union Connectivity Review, upon which the Campaign was consulted, devoted but one sentence to the concept, confining that to page forty-one. The STPR2 devoted similarly scant space to the prospect of providing an entire region of Scotland with a fit for purpose and fit for the future transport and communications link.    

“Our initial response to both reports was one of disappointment, given the minimal reference to the proposals for Tweedbank to Carlisle” says CBR Chair Marion Short. “Any lack of political and government agency support will not deflect the Campaign in its top priority of seeing completion of a new cross-border link,” she said.

Independent report being considered

Subject to CBR membership approval, a specialist consultancy with expertise in transport and sustainability will be commissioned to develop the Campaign’s case in further detail. “Using professional consultants will give us robust and independent evidence to support our engagement with the official feasibility study process,” said Marion Short.

Carlisle and Galashiels 

The Campaign also has much to celebrate. A resumption of live events allowed the Annual General Meeting to go ahead in October at Tullie House in Carlisle. John Stevenson MP, railway engineer and public speaker Gareth Dennis, and CBR Patron and TV Presenter, Rob Bell all gave impassioned presentations. The Campaign’s 2022 AGM will be held in Galashiels, with the Great Tapestry Building being the venue for the October event. 

Notes for editors:

The Campaign for Borders Rail is a long-established pressure group promoting the benefits of modern train services for communities across the Borderlands. Our grassroots campaign saw the rail link from Edinburgh to the Scottish Borders reopened. Now we’re lobbying to extend the popular Borders Railway onward to Hawick and Carlisle. Visit the Campaign website for further details.

For further comment, contact Simon Walton on 07540 313018