Farquhar’s bus plan to lure rail tourists to town

The new Borders railway may only be running as far as Tweedbank but, in a bold move, Future Hawick is seeking to cash in on its tourism potential for our town by promoting free onward celebratory bus tours to Hawick.

The scheme, which is the brainchild of Future Hawick member Andrew Farquhar, would see the regeneration group offering eight free trips in the pre-Christmas period involving a guided introduction to the Borders coupled with a stop for eating, shopping and visiting in Hawick.

The visits would take place during the last week in November and the first week in December.

Speaking this week, Mr Farquhar said: “The difficulty is marketing this thing but if I have to go to Edinburgh, get on the train and sell Hawick to those coming to the Boders I will do just that. It is vital that Hawick benefits from the railway going to Tweedbank and we must make this work.”

The project, which is supplemented by a Hawick promotion near the transport interchange in Galashiels, is being backed by local businesses as a chance to increase footfall and improve business prospects.

An application for grant funding has been submitted to the SBC Railway Celebration Fund, with a decision expected in the next few weeks.

Future Hawick chairman Derick Tait said “The railway mayonly be coming to Galashiels and Tweedbank, but we have to make the most of its potential as far as Hawick is concerned. By taking this step, we hope that we can give a boost to our town’s economy and if we provide the right sort of welcome, we are sure to benefit from return visits.”