Borders MP John Lamont is continuing to back campaigners calling for the Borders Railway to be extended into England.
The Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk MP last week highlighted the hopes now rising that the Edinburgh-Tweedbank track could be extended into Cumbria by asking: “Many businesses in my constituency depend on customers and staff from south of the border, so what discussions has the minister had with the Scottish Government about improving cross-border links on the A1, A68 and A7 and, crucially, the extension of the Borders Railway to Carlisle?”
Welsh office minister Stuart Andrew told him: “My honorable friend is absolutely right that cross-border connectivity is crucial right across the United Kingdom.
“He and his constituents will quite rightly expect the UK Government to commit to working closely and constructively with the Scottish Government so that we have a joined-up approach.
“We are working on a day-to-day level and at an official level between the Department for Transport and Transport Scotland.
“As for long-term projects, the potential of the Borderlands growth deal could stand to be transformative for his constituents.”
The viability of extending the track, opened in 2015 as a partial restoration of the cross-country Waverley Route closed in 1969, is currently being looked into on behalf of Transport Scotland by consultant Jacobs UK.
Extending the line to Hawick, via Melrose, would add about 17 miles to its current 30-mile length, and carrying onto Carlisle would require another 50-plus miles of track on top of that.