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Sturgeon to look at extending Borders Railway if re-elected

Nicola Sturgeon will tomorrow announce plans to launch a feasibility study to find out how much it could cost to extend the Borders Railway to Hawick.

Credit: ITV Border

The SNP leader will visit Hawick tomorrow, as campaigners push for the line which currently ends at Tweedbank, to be continued all the way to Carlisle.

The Scottish Conservatives and Liberal Democrats are backing the study. ITV News Border has contacted the Scottish Labour party for comment.

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Borders railway granted 20% more seats in 'revolution'

Credit: ITV Border

The Borders Railway is set to benefit from 20% more seats as part of a “Revolution in Rail” package announced today by the Scottish Transport Minister.

The increase in seats will rise by 2018.

This is excellent news. The line has been a fantastic success since it opened last year - we have seen that again this week with it being instrumental in the £100 million investment deal in the region involving Scottish Borders Council and CGI.

It is this very success which has created challenges at times in terms of greater than expected passenger numbers."

– Christine Grahame, MSP for Midlothian South, Tweeddale and Lauderdale

I warmly welcome this announcement of an increase in capacity, which will improve levels of comfort for the hundreds of thousands of people using our railway.

“In addition, we’ve had the good news that many of the services will now run through to stations in the west of Edinburgh. These changes are yet another vote of confidence in the line and add to the case for a feasibility study in extending it on to Hawick and Carlisle.”

– Calum Kerr MP,Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk

Borders Railway: Over 125,000 journeys in first month

The Borders Railway re-opened in September Credit: ITV Border

Exactly one month since the line opened on Sunday 6 September, more than 125,000 passenger journeys have been made on the Borders Railway.

Public interest in the new line soared following almost a week of celebrations which came to an end at the official opening by Her Majesty The Queen on Wednesday 9 September.

As demand to travel is so high, ScotRail has added additional carriages to busy trains.

The 125,971 total passenger journeys have included students, commuters, tourists and eager rail enthusiasts.

Over 125,000 passenger journeys have been made in the first month alone. Credit: ITV Border

As well as this figure, 17 sold out steam trains will have run on the line before mid-October, carrying around 6,200 passengers on special return journeys from Edinburgh to Tweedbank.

Phil Verster, managing director of the ScotRail Alliance, said:

The incredible interest in the Borders Railway over the first few weeks highlights what a remarkable achievement has been made by the opening of the new line.

By helping to create new opportunities for the people of the Scottish Borders, Midlothian and Edinburgh, this line better connects the regions and benefits both the local people and the local economy.

There is a great future ahead for Scotland’s railways, and the Borders Railway is an exciting part of that.”

– Phil Verster, ScotRail Alliance
Borders Railway re-opened in September Credit: ITV Border

Minister for Transport and Islands, Derek Mackay, said:

The historic reopening of the Borders Railway has clearly captured people’s interest and I am delighted to see the soaraway success of services and impressive passenger numbers.

It is particularly good to see the Borders and Midlothian reap the benefits of being reconnected to Scotland’s rail network after an absence of almost half a century.

Alongside delivering greater connectivity through landmark projects such as the Borders Railway, the Scottish Government is committed to a record £5 billion investment in our railways to improve rolling stock, rail infrastructure, as well as recruiting 100 new train drivers, all of which will ensure that Scotland’s rail network remains among the best in the UK.”

– Derek Mackay, Minister for Transport and Islands

Councillor David Parker, Leader of Scottish Borders Council, added:

I was always confident that the Borders Railway would be a success, but even a passionate railway supporter such as myself has been taken aback by the huge numbers who have embraced the new service.

We have not only had Borderers using the service for work and recreation but many people from the central belt have been jumping on board to visit our region. The knock-on effect has already been seen, with local businesses such as cafes and restaurants reporting extra trade.

The aim of the Borders Railway Blueprint programme is for the railway to stimulate growth in our businesses, investment into our region and to create new jobs - already we are starting to see signs of all three and it bodes very well for the future.”

– Councillor David Parker

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ScotRail working to fix ticket machine issues

ScotRail has responded to criticism of the first Borders Railway services. Credit: Danny Lawson/PA Wire/Press Association Images

ScotRail says it has put on extra carriages and buses to deal with the demand for services on the new Borders Railway.

The company says delays have been caused by a range of factors, including a train failure, signal problems and heavy passenger loadings:

It's been a momentous week for the Borders, with trains returning to the area for the first time in almost 50 years.

Thousands of people have flocked to use the new line and - despite extra carriages being added to many trains - it has been particularly busy on board some services, as expected.

At times this has caused delays while these unusually large numbers of customers board and alight. We are aware of the ticket machine issues and are getting these fixed as soon as possible."

– ScotRail spokesperson

Delays and overcrowding on Borders Railway services

Scotrail are in the spotlight. Credit: ITV Border

Campaigners say services on the new Borders Railway have been hit by problems, including overcrowding and delays.

The line opened to paying passengers on Sunday 6 September with an official opening by the Queen on Wednesday 9.

But this weekend, members of the Campaign for Borders Rail say services were in disarray, with passengers being forced to wait at platforms for the next service as not enough carriages were put on.

Some passengers claim they had to wait nearly 20 minutes for delayed services.

There were also problems with ticket machines not recognising the new stations on the line, and the machine at Tweedbank not connecting to the banking system.

Some passengers were saying it was so busy that they had to stand, some couldn't board the trains.

I think Scotrail have fallen short.

There have been delays on the trains for various reasons. If a train arrives late in Tweedbank, and then its late going back to Edinburgh, then all the other trains are delayed.

They have to keep an eye on this and make sure trains run on time or it will turn people off the trains altogether."

– Atholl Innes, Campaign for Borders Rail

Stunning video of Royal Train passing through Borders countryside

Watch as the Royal Train, carrying the Queen and Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, passes through the Scottish Borders.

It was an historic day for the Borders, as rail services officially returned to the region.

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