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Borders rail study to include Langholm option

By Fiona Reid
Annan and Eskdale
Borders rail study to include Langholm option

STUDIES into extending the Borders Railway will look at an option of bringing the route through Langholm and Eskdale.

STEAM ERA . . . Langholm’s old railway station at Townfoot


It follows a representation from local councillor Denis Male to Scottish Government Transport Minister Humza Yousaf.

Mr Male believes the town, reeling from news that 43 jobs are under threat at the Enesco factory, urgently needs improved transport links to stimulate the economy.

The Scottish Government is committed to examining the feasibility of extending the Borders Railway south west from Tweedbank to Carlisle.

In a letter to the councillor, the Minister referred to talks with Mr Male and his A7 Action Group colleagues on rail connectivity with Langholm and Eskdale.

Mr Yousaf revealed they planned to appoint a consultancy to carry out a pre-appraisal study of transport and accessibility.

He wrote: “The pre-appraisal work will include consideration of accessibility provided to communities, including Langholm and Eskdale, to link in to local and strategic transport networks.”

He stated that the Scottish Government was investing £5 billion in railways in the period up to 2019.

And he added that consideration would be given to new services where there were proven benefits together with affordability and a business case.

Cllr Male, a Conservative, welcomed the Minister’s response.

He said: “We have achieved what we were seeking which was for a route through Langholm to be included as an option in any feasibility studies.

“I believe there would be far more gains from bringing the railway through Langholm than Newcastleton.

“It is just the shot in the arm that Langholm badly needs. It would encourage visitors, help businesses and create new jobs.”

Last year South of Scotland SNP MSP Joan McAlpine also backed bringing the railway to Langholm and raised the idea with Ministers.

She said: “The railway line could reap huge rewards for the town.”

Langholm railway station, served by a branch line, was closed in 1964 prior to the main Waverley route through Newcastleton being axed as part of the 1969 Beeching cuts.


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