More than half a million passengers have used the £353 million Borders Railway since it re-opened in September last year.
Transport Scotland claims the figures show that passenger uptake on the re-opened railway is more than 20% ahead of forecast, and believes it will continue to exceed expectations through the year.
ScotRail Alliance Managing Director Phil Verster added that “no-one expected us to reach 500,000 passengers so quickly”, although campaigners for the line disagreed.
David Spaven, author of Waverley Route; the battle for the Borders Railway, said: “The substantial patronage on the Borders Railway is very welcome, but Phil Verster of the ScotRail Alliance is wrong to say that ‘no-one expected us to reach 500,000 passengers so quickly’. Rail campaigners certainly did, when they saw the ludicrously pessimistic forecasting undertaken four years ago by Transport Scotland.”
The TS Business Case for Borders Railway, published in November 2012, predicted first year annual return passenger numbers of 647,136. The exact figure for September 6 to January 23 was 537,327.
- For much more on this, read RAIL 794, published on February 17.
- RAIL would like to clarify that David Spaven speaks as the author of Waverley Route; the battle for the Borders Railway. He is a rail consultant, and a long-time individual campaigner for the new railway. The campaign group is the Campaign for Borders Rail, of which the Chairman is Allan McLean.