Leader comment: Tourism body right to ride the rails

The Borders Railway has opened up the historic route between Edinburgh and Galashiels.
The Borders Railway has opened up the historic route between Edinburgh and Galashiels.
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From the panoramic splendours of the Pentlands to the elegant expression of engineering ingenuity that is the Glenesk viaduct, the Borders Railway is so rich in scenery and history, it would be selfish of Scotland to keep the route’s secrets to herself. Given the time, expense and effort involved in reopening the historic line, it is surely only prudent to promote it as one of the country’s leading tourist attractions.

The decision by Visitscotland to team up with an online travel publisher extolling the route’s myriad delights to US tourists is therefore a welcome one. Millions of people around the world share a love of traditional rail travel and while there are many original and reinstated lines, few boast the views and attractions of the Borders.

The £350m line from Edinburgh to Tweedbank has boosted visitor numbers for businesses in the region, but the various organisations and agencies involved cannot afford to be complacent.

More than 1.59 million overseas visitors come to Edinburgh every year, 263,000 from the US. It is a vast market and if the video, part of a three-year marketing campaign, puts the railway on the map, communities such as Galashiels, Gorebridge and Newtongrange will reap the benefits.

The promotional activity highlights how the railway has improved access to attractions such as Abbotsford House and Floors Castle. For tourists looking to savour Scotland’s rich heritage, it offers a ready made network.

We would only ask one thing of our overseas friends. If your train is late or, worse still, cancelled, please be patient. It will be well worth it, we assure you.