A CAMPAIGN group has praised the allocation of funding for a study to extend a Scottish rail line into Cumbria.

It comes after politicians met near Peebles in the Scottish Borders last week to sign the ‘heads of terms’ agreement for the £385 million Borderlands Growth Deal - which will see investment pumped into each of the five localities.

Of that agreement, £10 million has been allocated to carry out a feasibility study to extend the Borders Railway, which currently runs from Edinburgh to Tweedbank, further south into Carlisle.

Since the line reopened in 2015, campaigners have been pushing for a further extension to be made into England.

Simon Walton, chairman of the Campaign for Borders Rail said: “Ten million pounds for a feasibility study is excellent news and a very positive outcome for extension of the Borders Railway, from Carlisle and Longtown, through the Borders to Hawick and Tweedbank, reinstating a lost though route, and providing a much needed strategic cross-border link for the UK network at large.”

“The agreement between local authorities and governments is recognition of the part the Campaign for Borders Rail has played in encouraging cross-border cooperation in bringing rail infrastructure to the wider Borderlands, for the benefit of local communities and for the strategic value to the national network as a whole.

“There’s no doubt in my mind that extending the railway represents the most tangible way of encouraging economic growth, social inclusion and environmental sustainability in the whole region.

“Our job as the Campaign for Borders Rail is to see this feasibility study actioned, and for us to play a central and consultative role.

“We want nothing less than to deliver a new railway and new opportunities for generations of Borderers to come.”

He added: “Carlisle and Cumbria has a whole new market to gain from being connected to the Borders Railway. We’re determined to build on the success of the existing line, and for this initiative to be translated into work on the ground as soon as possible.

“We’ll not sit back and allow red tape to obscure this green signal.

“It’s onward, from Carlisle to Tweedbank, without delay.”