South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth has marked the fifth anniversary of the Borders Railway, which opened on 6 September 2015, by urging the Scottish and UK Governments to fund the extension of the line to Carlisle.
The local MSP used the occasion to highlight the economic and social benefits of the railway and called for the line to be extended so it runs from Tweedbank through Hawick and Langholm to join the main line at Carlisle.
The historic line between Edinburgh and the Borders opened five years ago but campaigners have continued to lobby to see the route extended across the border into England.
Colin Smyth said: “The Borders Railway opened on 6 September 2015 and it has been a success story, with increasing passenger numbers.
“However, the campaign to extend the Borders Railway on to Carlisle has never been more important and the benefits to the local economy here in the south of Scotland would be immeasurable.
“That’s why I believe the route should run through Langholm, linking one the key towns to the rail line.
“There is a powerful case for an extension of the Borders Railway, not just as far south as Hawick but beyond to Carlisle. It has been a genuine grassroots campaign that has united communities not just in the Borders but beyond.
“The economic benefits of the Borders Railway cannot be underestimated and therefore it is vitally important that Langholm is included in the route. It is not just the town itself that would profit, the surrounding communities would also gain a vital advantage.
“Including a stop in Langholm would bring significant benefits to the Eskdale community and a local economy which has suffered a number of economic shocks in recent years.
“In a post Covid-19 environment, it has the potential to open up new opportunities for tourism and attract visitors to the area.”