SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon chose her visit to Hawick, yesterday (Thursday), to announce her party’s support for a feasibility study on the extension of the Borders Railway.
Ms Sturgeon said it made sense to extend the line and pledged that a re-elected SNP Government would start the ball rolling to get rail services to Hawick and Carlisle.
Ms Sturgeon, who was in Hawick to support local SNP candidate Paul Wheelhouse’s Scottish election campaign, said: “Our rural communities and town centres are an essential part of the Scottish economy.
“The Borders Railway has been a fantastic success – boosting the economy, leading to new house building and supporting tourism in the region. Since it was opened in September last year the number of passengers has exceeded all expectations, with over half-a-million people travelling on the line by January.
“With this kind of success it makes sense to look at extending the line to other communities. I know there is support across the Borders for extending the line to Carlisle and if re-elected we will take the first step on that journey.”
Ms Sturgeon, who was given a tour of Burnfoot Community Hub during yesterday’s visit, also said creating greater connectivity between businesses and communities in the Scottish Borders and the rest of the Scottish economy was key to growing the economy of the South of Scotland.
“Greater connectivity, through better transport links and improved digital infrastructure can ensure that all parts of Scotland reap the benefits of economic progress,” she added.
Mr Wheelhouse said he was delighted that a re-elected Scottish Government would look at the feasibility of extending the Borders Railway as part of its wider plans to support economic growth in the Scottish Borders.