Three years of success in which 4 million passengers have used the Borders Rail Line highlights the case to extend the line to Carlisle, according to South Scotland MSP and Scottish Labour’s Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Rural Economy, Connectivity and Transport Colin Smyth.

However, the local MSP has said that any future extension of the Borders Railway should stop at Langholm.

The call comes as figures released by Scot Rail on the third anniversary on the re-opening of part of the Borders Railway showed that 1.5 million passenger journeys in the last 12 months alone. This was an increase of 200,000 passenger journeys per year for the first 12 months after the opening of the line.

Since the re-opening of the line in 2015 campaigners have been keen to see the line extended to Carlisle. This is an idea that has been raised in discussions around the Borderlands Growth Deal, in particular, which is likely to include funding for a feasibility study to be carried out.

Colin Smyth MSP said, “The previous Scottish Labour Government set the wheels in motion for the re-opening of the Borders Railway Line and thirteen years later it’s been proven that it was the right decision to be made. The passenger numbers in the first three years show the success and help make the case for extending the line to Carlisle.

I was however disappointed that Tory MP, John Lamont said the line should not run through Langholm at Prime Minister’s Questions. There is a very strong case to have a railway station at Langholm – increasing access to both Carlisle and Edinburgh while opening up economic development opportunities. While the original Borders rail line didn’t pass through Langholm directly and went via Newcastleton. Times have moved on and it would be foolish not to ensure that the largest towns were served by any extension. However, the comments of John Lamont in preferring the original route show that there is work to be done to make sure there is cross party backing for Langholm and we are all united in making the case”

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