Borders rail link to Berwick still on the table

Proposals to extend the Borders Railway to Berwick is among 21 options now being considered by ministers.

Thursday, 14th March 2019, 8:21 am
The Borders Railway at Eskbank

The potential extensions into England remains on the table following the publication by consultant Jacobs UK of its final Borders transport corridors study pre-appraisal report.

Further consideration will also be given to improving the Borders’ rail and road infrastructure as part of a wider strategic transport projects review by Transport Scotland.

That will include assessing the potential benefits of dualling sections of the A1 between Dunbar and the English border and improvements to the A68 Edinburgh-Darlington route.

Proposals for extending the 30-mile Borders Railway from Tweedbank both southwest into Cumbria and east into Northumberland have not been ruled out, but Jacobs warns that both are expensive options that might not be deemed cost-effective, as well as potentially facing opposition due to their impacts on the natural environment.

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Scottish Government transport secretary Michael Matheson said: “The Borders transport corridors study fulfils our commitment to consider the future transport needs of the area.

“We have already committed to rail stations at East Linton and Reston, and these will be delivered as part of work to improve capacity to Edinburgh.

“We will now go on to consider a further 21 options as part of the strategic transport projects review being taken forward during the lifetime of this parliament.

The Campaign for Borders Rail chairman, Simon Walton, said: “Clearly, our number one priority is the enhancement and extension of the Borders Railway to make it a through route, fit for purpose, to reach through Hawick to Carlisle

“The main line that we seek to see reopened once supported a whole network of lines, directly serving communities large and small, including those on the axis through Kelso to Berwick.”