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Borders Railway has 'positive impact' on local tourism

A new report has highlighted benefits to the Borders Railway system Photo: PA

A new report has highlighted the benefits of the Borders Railway service.

The independent study says the railway "is attracting new tourists, homeowners and workers" and "indicates high levels of rail use" among Borderers. Tweedbank, Galashiels and Stow stations are all stated as seeing higher passenger numbers than predicted.

This report is further proof that the railway is having a hugely positive impact on the Borders.

The study shows the railway was a key factor for many tourists choosing to visit the Borders, while more local people are using the service than predicted for work, leisure and education.

There is also evidence of the railway positively impacting on people’s choice of where to live.

While these figures are encouraging, there are still improvements which can be made and the Council will continue to work with partners in the Borders Railway Blueprint Group to deliver a range of economic benefits.

This includes encouraging businesses to take advantage of the many development opportunities available in the region, which have been opened up to a greater audience by the railway.

– Councillor Mark Rowley, Executive Member for Economic Development, Scottish Borders Council

Local commuters were also encouraged to use the rail service over a bus service because of the train line. More details from the report are listed below:

  • 39% of respondents of the user survey were traveling on a tourist day trip or overnight stay
  • 34% of these were traveling to the Scottish Borders or Midlothian
  • More than 65% of tourist users stated that the rail line was a factor in their decision to make their trip
  • 23% stated that they would not have made the trip were it not for the line
  • More than 50% of users who had moved house and over 80% of those who moved employment since the reopening of the line stated that the railway had been a factor in their decision.

  • More than 90% of respondents agreed that the railway promoted access between the Scottish Borders/Midlothian and Edinburgh.

  • More than 90% agreed that it improved access for those without a car

  • 85% agreed it encouraged a shift from the car to public transport.

  • 79% agreed that it improved access to Edinburgh’s job market.

The report, which was also commissioned by Transport Scotland, also found that there was significant improvements in tourism in the Borders within the first half of 2016, compared to the first half of 2015 when the railway was not yet open.

It can be viewed on the Transport Scotland website.