Borders Railway extension campaign cranked up
A new report has been published detailing the advantages of enhancing and extending the Borders Railway.
It proposes the line between Edinburgh and Tweedbank should be improved and extended via Hawick to Carlisle.
The report, produced by the Campaign for Borders Rail (CBR), said that could provide a "new strategic link" in the national network.
Extending the line is already being examined as part of a wider study of transport issues in southern Scotland.
"We believe that the Borders needs a through route to the south to maximise the region's economic potential," the CBR report states.
"For Hawick, a rail link is vital."
The Summary Case for a New Cross-Border Rail Link adds: "CBR is committed to making the case for further rail-led economic and social regeneration of the Borders and a transformative new cross-border rail link."
The briefing sees the vision for an extended Borders Railway as an "exciting opportunity".
"This document will help inform the debate on preparing for the proposed railway through the Scottish Borders to Carlisle and beyond," said Allan McLean, chairman of the CBR.
"The economies of Edinburgh, Midlothian and the northern Borders have all gained demonstrably from the opening of the Borders Railway.
"Now it is time for Hawick and other communities in the southern Borders to benefit directly."
The briefing document sets out the CBR's commercial, social and economic cases for a new railway linking the existing Tweedbank terminus to the West Coast Main Line at Mossband, just north of Carlisle.
"The completed railway would allow through trains between Edinburgh and Carlisle, serving intermediate settlements including Hawick," the report states.
"Communities not directly served would benefit from access by connecting bus services and park and ride stations."
The report claimed that extending the railway was the "only realistic proposal" to adequately address economic and social problems faced by the Scottish Borders and release the route's full potential.
It said detailed studies indicated benefits for passengers and freight that could be realised by the investment.
The report has been presented to Transport Minister Humza Yousaf.
Earlier this year it was announced a new study would look at the possibility of extending the Borders Railway.
The findings will feed into the Scottish government's nationwide strategic transport projects review.