Borders Railway campaigners have welcomed moves to examine the possibility of extending the route to Carlisle.
The idea will be looked at as part of a wider study of transport issues across southern Scotland.
Campaign for Border Rail spokesman Simon Walton said they would have preferred a report looking solely at rail services in the area.
However, he said it was welcome progress nonetheless.
Transport Scotland announced earlier this week that it intended to award the contract to look at wider transport issues across the south of the country to Jacobs UK Ltd.
It is hoped the study can get under way later this month and will take about seven months to complete.
Mr Walton said it was good to see the CBR's case for extending the railway was being recognised.
"It is a first step if not exactly a giant leap - it is certainly a move in the right direction," he said.
"We at the CBR would have been happier with a feasibility study looking solely at railway extension but this is a positive move.
"It does back our findings that it makes sense locally, socially and strategically to take the railway through Hawick and on to Carlisle."