Businesses invited to discuss possible impact of railway

Borders railway
Borders railway

The Scottish Borders Business Forum is inviting businesses to a meeting to discuss opportunities which could be created by the new railway.

The meeting, titled “What do Borders businesses need to profit from the railway?” will be hosted by the forum at Scottish Borders Council’s headquarters on Friday, January 23. It will be addressed by Mike Kean, UK Rail Development Director for Abellio, the company which will operate the Borders Railway franchise when it opens on September 6.

Other speakers include Michael Moore MP and Councillor Stuart Bell, executive member for economic development at SBC. There will be an opportunity for the audience to ask questions.

The meeting, which will start with tea and coffee at 8.30am, will also include a period for group discussions and presentations, each led by a forum steering group member with a support officer from the council’s Economic Development department. The meeting will close at 11.15am.

Jack Clark, chairman of Scottish Borders Business Forum, said: “The opening of the Borders Railway is less than eight months away.

“This is a fantastic opportunity for local businesses in a wide range of sectors, and is something that must be grasped, especially in such tough economic times.

“This meeting is a chance for businesspeople from across the region to hear directly from Abellio about the franchise, and the benefits the railway will bring to the Borders. It will hopefully also stimulate discussion about the impact this could have on local businesses and the associated opportunities.

“I would urge local businesspeople to take up the invite to this meeting, and will be delighted if we can have a large audience at the event next Friday.”

Anyone wishing to attend the meeting should contact Linda Richardson on lrichardson@scotborders.gov.uk or call 01835 825040.

Meanwhile, works to complete the final phase of rail installation for the new Borders Railway route restarted on Monday. It is expected that the rail installation machine will reach its final destination at Tweedbank station in early February.

Around 34 miles of track, including three double track sections, have been laid since the rail installation machine started its journey down the route last year.

Hugh Wark, project director, Network Rail, said: “This phase will see the final five miles completed between Ferniehurst and Tweedbank. Once the rail is fully installed much of the construction support deliveries will be able to be taken off the roads and delivered directly down the route by rail. This means that residents and road users should see the number of HGV and plant machinery on the roads reduced in the coming months. We still have a lot of work to carry out ahead of the project’s summer completion date, but we are at a very exciting point in the project, with only eight months to go until the line is fully operational.”