Borders Railway Boosts 'Forgotten' Small Towns

Small towns on the Borders railway route have been "regenerated and reinvigorated" by the opening of the line, campaigners have said.

The line, from Edinburgh to Tweedbank, opened last year at a cost of £350m and carried almost 700,000 people in its first six months.

That was 22% more than forecast for the route, which serves towns including Galashiels, Stow and Gorebridge.

The line's success is the focus of a conference being held in Newtongrange.

Allison Cosgrove, from campaign group Railfuture Scotland, organised this weekend's event.

She said: "The Borders reopening has exceeded all expectations, so naturally there's interest from other parts of the country from people wanting to share that success.

"The whole area is beginning to benefit from this project, with a hugely positive impact on local tourism.

"We'll be telling the story from the point of view of campaigners and politicians, as well as looking at the practical challenges of rebuilding the railway."

'Forgotten area'

The Borders was without any connection to the rail network from 1969 until last year after the Waverly Route was axed in cuts recommended by Dr Richard Beeching in his British Railways reports in the 1960s.

A plan to reopen the line was passed in the Scottish Parliament in 2006 with work starting in November 2012 and the first passengers travelling last September.

The conference is being held at the National Mining Museum Scotland in Newtongrange, Midlothian, on Saturday.

Ms Cosgrove added: "It's appropriate that we've chosen a venue on the reopened line.

"It's one of a collection of small towns in a forgotten area of Scotland which have been regenerated and reinvigorated.

"Railways are now being talked about in Scotland, thanks to the success of the longest rail reopening for a hundred years."

Source: BBC News

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