Tourist boost as Borders Railway celebrates second anniversary

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The Borders Railway has been a catalyst for employment and economic opportunity since it was opened by the Queen two years ago today, tourist chiefs said.

More than 2.6 million people have travelled the route from Waverley to Tweedbank since its launch.

The 31-mile Borders Railway route was officially opened by the Queen on September 9, 2015 and has since seen an influx of tourism as a result.

More than 65 per cent of visitors who have used the service said the railway line was a factor in their decision to make their trip.

Lindley Kirkpatrick, head of ScotRail’s Borders Railway programme, said: “The Borders Railway has been an extraordinary success.

“Each and every day thousands of people are travelling to and from the region for work, to study and to catch up with friends and family.

“It has also really opened up this most beautiful part our country to the tourism market that is so important for our country. Businesses are thriving, communities are being strengthened and opportunities are being opened up for people young and old.

“As we continue to build the best railway that Scotland has ever had, we will be looking at more ways to support the line. The passenger numbers we have seen in the first two years are really impressive, but we know that this is just the beginning of the story.”

VisitScotland is now focussing on inspiring visitors from Canada and Germany to make the trip.

Riddell Graham, director of partnerships at VisitScotland, said: “The Borders Railway has had a massive impact on the local economy and has encouraged people to come and visit this part of the country from all over the world.

“Scotland’s reputation as a quality destination relies on continued investment and innovation to ensure the current provision meets future demand, and the success of the Borders Railway shows just how important this is.”

However, it has not been full steam ahead for all passengers.

Commuters on the Borders Railway have been forced to put up with one in seven trains being cancelled or delayed since the service opened two years ago.

Since the route opened in September 2015, almost 1200 trains have been cancelled and more than 4000 journeys delayed by at least five 
minutes.

The statistics show that between September 6, 2015, and August 14 this year, 1182 trains have been cancelled or partially cancelled.

An additional 4099 journeys were delayed by more than five minutes of their scheduled arrival time.

A ScotRail spokeswoman said they were working hard to deliver a better rail service for the Borders.

fiona.pringle@jpress.co.uk