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10 April 2019

FSB: Borders Rail disruption threatens burgeoning tourism

Reference number: SPUR1004

The Federation of Small Businesses has warned that ongoing high profile disruption to services on the Borders Railway risks putting off visitors to the area as we approach the holiday season.

Borders FSB 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. Indeed it is to be hoped that this weekend’s Melrose Sevens will not be adversely affected by service failures.

“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.

“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.

“It is high time that Abellio 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.”