More than half a million passengers have used the Borders Railway in its first four months, exceeding original expectations.
The line, which opened in September, is the longest new domestic railway built in the UK for over a century and takes passengers on a 30-mile journey from Edinburgh through Midlothian to Tweedbank in the Scottish Borders .
It re-establishes part of the former Waverley line, which fell victim to the controversial Beeching cuts in 1969.
The new service has proved popular with both tourists, commuters and the Queen – who spent the day she became Britain’s longest-serving monarch travelling on the line – and rail bosses marked the 500,000 journey milestone at Edinburgh Waverley on Thursday.
Initial predictions were for the service to carry 650,000 passengers in its first year. Transport Minister Derek Mackay said the near £300 million investment in the service has been worth it.
“We knew it would be a success and a wise investment but it’s even more popular than we thought,” he said. “I think it’s been vindicated and is making a difference. Rail requires huge infrastructure support, and it has that. Rail in Scotland is very popular at the moment. This service works because it is reconnecting communities between Edinburgh, Midlothian and the Borders and is creating economic opportunities as well as a commuter link.”