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Thousands expected to watch Flying Scotsman

The Flying Scotsman drew large crowds in Carlisle. Credit: ITV Border

Around 20,000 visitors are expected to descend on the Scottish Borders this weekend to see the world famous Flying Scotsman.

The legendary locomotive has already visited Cumbria since its £4.2 million restoration, but it'll be the first time for 16 years that it has come to Scotland.

It will pass through Galashiels and Tweedbank on the Borders Railway on Sunday 15 May.

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Meeting to discuss Borders Railway extension

Rev Brydon Maben was arrested at the protest at Newcastleton Station. Credit: Bruce McCartney

A talk will be held in Newcastleton tonight to discuss the prospect of extending the Borders Railway through the village following in the tracks of the old Waverely line.

Campaign for Borders Rail spokesman Simon Walton says it's important isolated areas like Newcastleton are reconnected via the railway.

Mr Walton says there's enough political will to deliver the project and the extension shouldn't take as long as the current railway did.

There were major protests in the town when the old Waverley Line was closed.

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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