‘News’ throws weight behind rail campaign

The Borders Railway, seen here at Bowshank, stops at Tweedbank but campaigners want it extended to Hawick.
The Borders Railway, seen here at Bowshank, stops at Tweedbank but campaigners want it extended to Hawick.

The Hawick News has joined the campaign to bring the railway back to the town and beyond through the Borders.

It comes as the Campaign for Borders Rail, which was instrumental in helping to restore the service on the former Waverley Route, which closed in 1969, as far as Tweedbank, fights for it to be extended to its full length.

It is also at a time when CBR has targeted the townand Newcastleton with a leaflet drop in a bid to have the line reopened and regenerate the area.

It follows the revelation, too, that more than 500,000 people were carried in the first four-and-a-half months of the service, exceeding all expectations.

Hawick News editor Jason Marshall commented: “The paper is delighted to stand shoulder to shoulder with the Campaign for Borders Rail and we’ll be doing all we can to help promote their aims.”

ScotRail Alliance managing director, Phil Verster, said that no-one expected the numbers to rise so quickly.

“Every opportunity to extend the railway to Hawick and Carlisle must be evaluated and could hold very exciting possibilities for us,” he added.

Allan McLean, chairman of CBR, told the Hawick News: “People in other communities deserve to gain even more of a direct benefit. That’s why folk in other parts of the Borders have supported new tracks beyond Tweedbank.

“CBR is keen to help. That’s why we have taken up the case for railway expansion in Hawick and elsewhere by seeking to recruit more members.

“The Borders Railway is a testament to the value of grassroots campaigning.

“If people in Hawick want their trains back, it would help if they join the campaign and the members we already have in Hawick and elsewhere.”

The campaign says that the reopening of the line to Hawick would boost employment, population, investment and reverse years of decline.

It would also offer a greener and safer journey with a time of 75 minutes from Hawick to Edinburgh and offer a lifeline to Newcastleton.

The Campaign’s work is not done as it battles to reopen the whole length of the line and sees Tweedbank as only a temporary stopping-off terminus.

Readers are urged to contact their MPs, MSPs, Euro MPs and councillors and join CBR in a call to get the line fully restored in the future.