Borders Railway Blueprint

‘Borders Railway Maximising the Impact: A Blueprint for the Future’ is a strategy to maximise the potential of the line. It was launched by the First Minister in November 2014 and aims to capitalise on the transformational impact of the new line in creating new places to ‘live, work, visit, learn, play and grow’. 

It supports the Scottish Government’s strategy of ensuring transport connections are strengthened and made more reliable to maximise opportunities for employment, business, tourism and leisure.

The partners in creating and delivering the blueprint are: Scottish Enterprise, Transport Scotland, VisitScotland, Scottish Government, Scottish Borders Council, Midlothian Council, the City of Edinburgh Council, Abellio ScotRail and Network Rail.

The Blueprint outlines key investments across three strategic themes: Great Places for Working and Investing, Great Communities for Living and Learning, and Great Destinations to Visit. The investment proposals published in the Blueprint form a ‘national action plan’ to ensure that the Borders Railway will be a catalyst for economic growth in Midlothian and the Scottish Borders, and for the city region and Scotland.

It secures a commitment from partners to jointly plan, prioritise and agree resources to deliver these priorities. This includes a commitment of £10 million investment from Scottish Government.

 

Economy

The Borders Railway will help transform business, investment and employment in the Scottish Borders, Edinburgh and the Lothians. We want to maximise the potential of companies in the area, particularly those in growth sectors

The Borders Railway is a fundamental part of delivering the Tourism Scotland 2020 Strategy and promoting growth in Scotland’s visitor economy to 2020.

Direct transport links are key to growing Scotland’s tourism industry and this new line will transform the tourism economy and support the ambitions for growth in the area, reconnecting the south east of Scotland to a UK-wide network of rail and air travel hubs.

The Borders Railway will connect and grow communities, especially those that are still responding to the effects of industrial decline. 

Improving access to skills and learning will develop the workforce that local communities and the wider Scottish economy need. The project will fund and deliver a Modern Apprenticeship Programme reflecting the STEM subjects.

Employment and investment

Our vision is accommodate future growth, making it easier for people in Edinburgh to commute to Midlothian and the Scottish Borders, maximising the two-way flow the Borders Railway will create, widening the labour catchment and making it easier for businesses to recruit. 

We will continue to work on creating a vibrant economy providing access to development land, skilled people and capital, supporting business growth and the number of higher value and better paid jobs they provide.

The investment in railway infrastructure makes Midlothian and the Scottish Borders better locations for businesses to invest. We aim to respond with a level of support that incentivises growth in more productive business activity, and capitalises on the advantage we have in tourism and food and drink production. Our overall aim is to increase the proportion of growth sector activity, bringing it closer to Edinburgh levels.

We expect new work and study travel patterns to emerge, reflecting the new economic geography being created. Eskbank station provides ready access to the Midlothian Community Hospital and a ten minute rail link between Edinburgh College campuses in Midlothian. Shawfair provides a link to the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh, delivering benefits to patients and visitors from Midlothian and the Scottish Borders. New and improved bus routes from the Galashiels Transport Interchange distribute people across the towns of the Scottish Borders.

Learning

With stations in Galashiels and Tweedbank, Borders College plans to grow the number of pupils participating in the Hospitality and Tourism Academy (in partnership with Queen Margaret University and Edinburgh College), expand its existing engineering provision and widen its STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) and construction curriculums.

By improving access to skills and learning, we will continue to develop the workforce our local communities and the wider Scottish economy need.

Through our schools, colleges and universities, and by working with industry and Skills Development Scotland, we must raise attainment to respond to the demands of the ‘world of work’ and the needs of expanding and relocating businesses, as well as Edinburgh employers.

Great attractions

We’re committed to continually supporting our tourism, food, and drink sectors to ensure we are ready to capitalise on the excellent opportunity we now have to raise the profile of the area as a key visitor destination. 

We are ready to welcome the world to our great destination. We have already supported the industry with a £12 million investment in Abbotsford, the Home of Sir Walter Scott, invested in the National Mining Museum Scotland at Newtongrange, developed plans for Dalkeith Country Park, and regularly support major national and international sporting events such as the Melrose 7s, and cultural events such as the Borders Book Festival.

We aim to deliver a fitting home at Tweedbank for the 160 panels of the Great Tapestry of Scotland that is visible from the station, developed and phased to complement both the arrival experience at Tweedbank and the development of the Central Borders Business Park.

The Great Tapestry will be a catalyst for creating a destination of national and international significance, and will assist the development of a cluster of wider textiles innovation/heritage activity. 

The railway is a major tourist experience in its own right, taking advantage of the direct connection to Edinburgh’s 4.3 million visitors. We aim that the current seasonal steam train and charter service will become a permanent fixture, complementing the place of the Borders line as one of ScotRail’s Great Scenic Railways of Scotland.