Railway campaign secures support from Carlisle

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CAMPAIGNERS seeking reinstatement of a railway between the Scottish Borders and Carlisle has secured support from the city's council.

Trains running from Tweedbank railway station may run to Carlisle in the futureCredit: camapignforbordersrail.org
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Trains running from Tweedbank railway station may run to Carlisle in the futureCredit: camapignforbordersrail.org

Councillor Colin Glover, council leader, held joint talks with the Campaign for Borders Rail and agreed to stimulate economic growth through the reinstatement of the railway between Carlisle, Longtown and the Borders.

The prospect of a reopened railway to Longtown, Hawick and Edinburgh took a significant step forward at the meeting with the campaign group which successfully lobbied for the opening of the Borders Railway between Edinburgh and Tweedbank.

An initial survey, sponsored by the Scottish government, is expected to indicate widespread public support.

The meeting, hosted by Mr Glover and chaired by the campaign's Allan McLean, confirmed a joint desire to see the line form the backbone of the Borderlands Initiative, the central government plan for cross-border economic development.

Connection with Carlisle, via Hawick, is the key objective of the campaign’s document, Summary Case for a New Cross-Border Rail Link, which has been received by governments, industry and communities set to benefit from the project.

Mr Glover said a rebuilt line through Longtown and Hawick was a logical step forward from the safeguarding of the route in the council’s local plan.

“There are clear benefits for Carlisle. Building a new line supports plans for growth in the city and region. This would add significantly to economic growth in Longtown, the new air services from Carlisle and our objective to encourage modal shift from road to rail for freight."

Campaign for Borders Rail is taking the case for completion of the line to the Westminster and Holyrood governments.

Mr McLean, chairman, said there were clear imperatives for both sides of the border.

“As part of an integrated plan for Carlisle, a rail link with the markets of the Borders makes perfect economic sense.

“Both governments, five local authorities and broad support from industry and communities make taking the railway through Hawick to Carlisle an unequivocal case.”

Mr Glover will address the campaign's AGM in Hawick on October 21. Both bodies have meetings with the UK and Scottish governments to press their case.

At Langholm, Ewes and Westerkirk community council meeting on Monday Denis Male of Langholm's railway action group said they had raised a petition of nearly 1,400 signatures. They had also attended a seminar in Hawick.

"The first phase of the consultation by Jacobs (the company commissioned to do a feasibility study) is over. There will be a decision about whether to take the railway to Carlisle and which way it will go. We hope to show Jacobs the support there is in Eskdale.

"It's not only about the railway but also about the A7. If we don't get the railway, we must make sure we get the road properly upgraded. We must fight it on both fronts and make sure we get one of them."

Thursday, September 7, 2017 at 3:42PM
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