Scottish Enterprise chief backs Borders Railway extension

The Chair of Scottish Enterprise, Bob Keiller has said that he supports the extension of the Borders Railway.

Speaking at an event in Edinburgh yesterday (Tuesday 12th September), Mr Keiller said the economic benefits of the railway to Tweedbank were underestimated and this was “a great thing in terms of bolstering the case for further investment into the rail.”

This is the first time a public body has indicated its support for the extension of the railway. Scottish Enterprise is Scotland's main economic development agency and a non-departmental public body of the Scottish Government.

Local Conservative politicians, John Lamont MP and Rachael Hamilton MSP have welcomed the news, which comes shortly after the 2nd anniversary of the opening of the railway to Tweedbank.

Rachael Hamilton MSP (Ettrick, Roxburgh & Berwickshire) said: “The extended train will provide an invaluable transport link for young people to gain easier access to jobs and education opportunities from Carlisle to Edinburgh and further.

“Bringing the line south will encourage more people to make cross Border day trips and boost overnight stays to the Borders. It will bring a bonanza boost for the tourism industry and the footfall on our High Streets will receive a welcome upturn.”

John Lamont MP (Berwickshire, Roxburgh & Selkirk) said: "This is a significant intervention from the head of Scotland’s main economic development agency.

“Any extension is clearly going to take time and in that time we need to ensure the economic potential of the current line is fully realised and we get any extension right.

“The current railway is far from perfect and I’m keen to look at how we can better integrate the transport system to link up to other parts of the Borders and encourage more people to come here, rather than use the railway to get to Edinburgh.

“The UK Government has already indicated it is happy to work with the Scottish Government on bringing the railway to Carlisle and I look forward to helping with this process.”