Borders Railway’s unreliability could hit tourist trade, fear business bosses

A Borders Railway train at Eskbank.
A Borders Railway train at Eskbank.

Business bosses fear that ongoing disruption on the Borders Railway could have an adverse impact on the region’s tourism industry.

The Federation of Small Businesses is urging ScotRail to tackle reliability issues on the 30-mile Edinburgh-Tweedbank line ahead of the start of this year’s tourism season.

Federation member Hans Waltl said: “The Borders has big tourism ambitions, but poor service on the Borders Railway is putting these at risk.

“Rarely a day goes by now when we are not seeing reports of serious overcrowding and disruption affecting the line.

“These problems are bad enough for commuters using the line on a daily basis, but the negative stories also risk putting off potential visitors to the Borders hoping to use the railway to access local businesses and attractions.

“Bringing Galashiels and Tweedbank to within an hour’s rail journey from the centre of Edinburgh is devalued if visitors can’t get on a crowded train or if the service is cancelled altogether.

“It is high time that ScotRail got its act together and delivered the kind of service that local people and businesses deserve.”

“The economic potential offered by the railway will only be fulfilled when trains run when they are supposed to and with enough seating to match demand.”

Mr Watl added: “Longer term, the hope held out by the Borderlands inclusive growth deal of extending the Borders Railway via Hawick to Carlisle will be strengthened by the delivery of a popular and reliable service on the existing line.”