Borders Railway Baseline Study - Final Report

2 Background


2.1 The Borders Railway, also known as ‘the Waverley Route’, provided direct rail services between Edinburgh, the textile towns of the Borders, Carlisle and West Yorkshire.  However it was closed in 1969, when it was identified by the Beeching Report as unsuitable for retention.  Thirtyone years on, and following a locally based campaign, the three local authorities of Edinburgh, Midlothian and Scottish Borders began developing a business case for the reopening of the Borders Railway and through their efforts managed to secure significant support from Scottish Government, Scottish Enterprise and the rail industry.  

2.2 A Bill in the Scottish Parliament was granted Royal Assent and led to the passing of the Waverley Railway (Scotland) Act 2006.  Responsibility for delivery and funding of the Project transferred to Transport Scotland in 2008.  In 2012 the Government announced that Network Rail, as Authorised Undertaker, was required to construct the whole of the railway, including all of the stations, and actual construction began in April 2014.  The new line opened on Sunday 6 September 2015 and involves:

  • 30 miles of new railway;
  • seven new rail stations, four in  Midlothian and three in the Scottish Borders; and
  • trains running every half hour with the majority of services between Tweedbank and Edinburgh having an anticipated journey time of less than one hour.

2.3 A map illustrating the new line and the stations is set below in Figure 2.1.

Figure 2.1

Figure 2.1: Borders Railway Line


2.4 The reopening of the new railway line is seen as an important contributor to reversing the relative declining performance of the Scottish Borders following the closure of a number of businesses in the traditional sectors in the area.

2.5 In particular, the literature supporting the appraisal and business case reveals the Borders Railway is anticipated to have a positive contribution towards achieving:

  • the Scottish Government’s Purpose, by increasing the accessibility of Edinburgh and important regional markets for people of Midlothian and the Scottish Borders;
  • the transport objectives outlined in the Government Economic Strategy, by improving the opportunities for leisure and tourism in the region; and
  • the National Transport Strategy’s objectives, by improving integration, promoting regional cohesion/social inclusion and by helping to promote economic growth.

2.6 The Final Business Case (FBC) was prepared to seek approval from the Transport Scotland Investment Decision Making (IDM) Board to invest in the construction of the Borders Railway. The report provides an assessment of the project against four investment objectives as shown in the table below. 

Table 2.1: Borders Railway Investment Objectives
Objective / Criteria Description
Investment Objective 1 Promote accessibility to and from the Scottish Borders and Midlothian to Edinburgh (including the airport) and the central belt.
Investment Objective 2 Foster social inclusion by improving services for those without access to a car.
Investment Objective 3 Prevent decline in the Borders population by securing ready access to Edinburgh’s labour market.
Investment Objective 4 Create a modal shift from the car to public transport.

2.7 In line with Transport Scotland’s best practice appraisal and monitoring / evaluation guidance, as set out Scottish Transport Appraisal Guidance (STAG), and its recently published Rail Evaluation Guidance, the impact of the new rail line will be evaluated to assess whether it has met these investment objectives.  To inform this evaluation, this report provides the baseline situation prior to the opening of the railway.