Business in the Borders are seeing a boom in trade as a result of the new railway – proving it has been the “biggest success in decades”.
That’s the view of Borders MP Calum Kerr, who says the increased number of customers spending money in the region proves what a hit the Tweedbank to Galashiels service has been – and helps make the case for it now going on to Hawick and Carlisle.
Tourist attractions, hotels, restaurants and bars say they have seen business rise since the rail services started in September, with some local hospitality outlets seeing a 50 per cent increase.
Traders in Galashiels are reporting a big jump in trade, and Herges on the Loch restaurant at nearby Tweedbank reporting a significant rise.
One reason why the hospitality sector is doing so well in the wake of September’s Borders Railway opening is that people are able to go to local places for a pint or a glass of wine as they no longer have to drive home.
Local tourist attractions, too, have found increased interest in their offering. For instance, Abbotsford House is reporting a rise in numbers of nearly 20 per cent compared to 2014, with the summer opening season extended into October.
Mr Kerr said: “These are hugely encouraging figures which prove that the railway is already making a difference to the economy of the region. In fact, it’s fair to say that it’s the biggest success in decades for the Borders.
“It’s great to see businesses in the hospitality sector doing so well by offering travellers coming here by train what they want – food, drink and a really positive experience.
“I’m sure that this is just the start of our new railway dividend. In future, we’ll see more local companies doing well as a result of it and an increase in inward investment, leading to more jobs and more prosperity.
“This early success also strengthens the case for restoring the original Waverley Line route to Hawick and Carlisle.”