The latest figures show that the number of passengers carried on the Borders Railway has beaten the forecast by 22%. Nearly 700,000 people travelled on the line in its first six months of operation.
The figures indicate the new railway line is performing well beyond all expectations, representing a healthy increase of 22% on forecasts made prior to opening.
Overall 694,373 passengers travelled on the line between 6 September 2015 and 6 March 2016, well up on the projected figure of 568,023.
Transport Minister, Humza Yousaf, was joined by Phil Verster, managing director of the ScotRail Alliance, at Edinburgh Waverley Station today to announce six month railway usage figures which also detail individual station usage along the line.
Last year the Borders Railway opened following a £294 million investment by the Scottish Government to re-establish passenger railway services between Edinburgh through Midlothian to Tweedbank for the first time since 1969.
The development includes 30 miles of new railway and seven new stations with a timetable offering half-hourly services on weekdays and Saturdays, including peak time cross-Edinburgh services to and from Fife.
ScotRail’s patronage numbers, which are published today, show the overall usage of the line as well as a breakdown of passengers by station.
Forecast single trips for first 6 months of operation
ScotRail actual single trips for first 6 months of operation
Tweedbank 18,978 183,918
Galashiels 20,567 104,593
Stow 5,129 24,365
Gorebridge 79,014 39,400
Newtongrange 46,449 50,480
Eskbank 114,568 65,672
Shawfair 54,298 9,398
Brunstane/Newcraighall 865 11,344
Edinburgh Waverley 228,156 205,203
568,023 694,373 +22%
Transport Minister, Humza Yousaf, said:
“There has been a surge of interest in the Borders Railway since it reopened last year; this is evident in the number of people who have travelled on the line over the first six months since opening.
“These figures are fantastic news for the region, further justifying the decision to bring a railway line back to the Borders for the first time in over 40 years.
“The reintroduction of a rail service to the Borders is opening up communities in the South-East of Scotland as new places to live, work and visit. Far from resting on our laurels the Scottish Government is now continuing our work with stakeholders, through the Borders Blueprint, to ensure that we build upon this positive start to support new opportunities, such as housing, commercial and leisure development along the Borders Railway corridor.
“The success of the Borders Railway is further proof that Scotland’s rail links are a powerful catalyst for economic growth.”
Phil Verster, managing director of the ScotRail Alliance, said: “We are incredibly proud to operate services on the Borders Railway – a route which, as the numbers show, is hugely popular with our customers.
“The extremely positive first six months is a wonderful start, and gives us a solid foundation on which to continue to attract new visitors to and from the Borders. We are committed to ensuring the lasting legacy of the Borders Railway.
“It’s clear that the success of the line has been a catalyst for other communities to champion their own rail links and we are working closely with partners to encourage and support economic growth across Scotland.”