Commuters now have access to refreshments sourced in the Borders at Tweedbank railway station following the opening of a new customer hub there this week.
A cafe and accessible toilets were officially opened on Monday by Scottish Borders Council leader David Parker.
For the first time since Tweedbank station opened in 2015, commuters will be able to get a taste of the Borders in the form of locally-sourced hot and cold drinks, sandwiches and snacks.
It was announced last November that Lanton-based firm Born in the Borders will operate the cafe similar to its coffee shop at the interchange in Galashiels opened in 2015.
The new facilities have been funded by Transport Scotland and ScotRail via franchise, plus the Scottish Government through the Borders Railway Blueprint Partnership.
In celebration, this week commuters have enjoyed complimentary refreshments including scones, tablet and Born in the Borders ales.
John Henderson, owner of Born in the Borders, said: “Following our success in the Galashiels transport interchange, we are delighted to continue our adventure along the railway.
“We are very much looking to bringing a taste of the borders to the local community in Tweedbank, commuters, and tourists alike.”
Leaderdale and Melrose councillor Mr Parker said: “This new customer hub will be a hugely welcome addition for users of Tweedbank station.
“For the first time, the thousands of commuters and visitors using the station every year will have access to toilet facilities, as well as refreshments and food from the award-winning Born in the Borders, who will provide quality products and excellent customer service.
“There are other positive announcements to come in 2017 which will aim to maximise the economic benefits the Borders Railway offers.”
Midlothian South, Tweeddale and Lauderdale MSP Christine Grahame has campaigned for facilities at the station for the last two years, and she said: “Having stopped by Tweedbank station, I’m delighted to see so much interest in the facilities already.
“It really goes to show how much they were needed, especially in a station which has very few amenities nearby.
“Alongside the community, I’ve been campaigning for these since it first came to light there were no plans for any facilities in 2015, before the Borders Railway had even opened.
“I’m grateful that ScotRail has listened and been proactive in ensuring the station is up to scratch for all passengers.
“The addition of toilets is essential for many people, especially those with health conditions or young children.
“I know Born in the Borders will also provide a first-class service, and I’m sure passengers will be grateful to them, especially when they’re grabbing a coffee or bacon roll on a cold morning.
“This is an issue I’ve discussed with ScotRail’s managing director, Phil Verster, and in light of the recent news that he will be leaving ScotRail Abellio, I’d like to thank him for his continuing support with it. In a wider sense, Phil has been a great ally in returning the railway to the Borders, and I wish him every success for his next endeavour.”
The ScotRail Alliance’s head of retail and revenue development, Chris Hassall, said: “The opening of this new customer hub at Tweedbank will further enhance the experience of customers traveling on Scotland’s newest railway line.
“It brings the very best in local produce to commuters and tourists alike, as well as underlining our commitment to the area and supporting Scottish suppliers.”
Campaign for Borders Rail chairman Allan McLean said: “The new catering and toilet facilities at Tweedbank are very welcome for the many people using the station.
“I wish Born in The Borders well in their new venture.”
The hub has created two full-time jobs, and it will be open seven days a week with weekday opening hours starting at 5.45am.
The toilets will be open the same hours as the cafe and customers can obtain toilet keys from cafe staff.