A NATIONAL TV presenter has been named as the newest patron of the campaign to open a railway line from the Scottish Borders to Carlisle.

Rob Bell, presenter of the recent Channel Five series ‘Walking Britain’s Lost Railways’, has been named as a Patron of the Campaign for Borders Rail, which seeks to introduce a rail route between Edinburgh and Carlisle through the Scottish Borders, via Galashiels and Hawick.

The line called for would also pass through Longtown.

Rob's recent Channel Five series featured the Borders Railway and the former Waverley Route, over which the new rail line would partially run.

Rob said: “The culture and heritage of the region is unique, and the people have real pride in their communities.

"There’s a sense of identity coupled with a healthy rivalry between communities.

"The region deserves every opportunity to bring that pride of place to as many people as possible, and the Campaign for Borders Rail is a project that can make that happen."

He added that he feels the Border "craves" the "unifying" force a railway line could bring.

“It seems to me that the Borders craves this missing part of its heritage; the railway that connected all those communities together and contributed to unifying the Borders more than anything else for over a century," he said.

"I’m honoured to be a patron of the Campaign for Borders Rail and look forward to playing my part in achieving that goal of reconnection."

The campaign's chairman, Simon Walton, said Rob's involvement will help bring greater focus to their message.

“The campaign has worked hard to take the message of the Borders Railway and the Borders to a national audience, and prove that the new Waverley Route will be an asset to the community, the region and the nation.

"Having Rob Bell on board as our patron takes that up a level, and gives the Campaign an ambassador that will help introduce a whole new audience to the ambitions we share, to make the Borders everything it can be, by building a new railway and making the Borders a better place for generations to come.”