Four years ago, the opening of the Borders Railway reconnected communities with Scotland’s biggest towns and cities for the first time in 50 years.

The huge scheme will lead to substantial economic benefits in the long term, enabling more employment opportunities and attracting significant investment along the line.

Across Britain, investment in the railway drives jobs and growth, development, regeneration and unlocks housing supply by creating better transport links.

These links or stations can bring communities previously cut off from public transport within easy reach of towns and cities. 

We look at five ways the railway is boosting the economy:

The Borders Railway

The 30-mile Borders Railway, the UK’s longest new domestic line in more than 100 years, opened in September 2015.

The successor to the Waverley Route included seven new stations – Shawfair, Eskbank, Newtongrange, Gorebridge, Stow, Galashiels and Tweedbank.

More than 10,000 new homes and 150 hectares of land for commercial use are set to be built near the railway corridor. Meanwhile, the Borders Railway said an additional 32,300 jobs would be created in Edinburgh between 2012 and 2030 with a further 3,000 in Midlothian and 1,900 in the Borders.

The Borders Railway

In March, Scottish Borders Council said an innovation park at Tweedbank would receive £15m of funding, generating up to 350 jobs across the Borders. It would also act as a catalyst for economic growth in the long term.

Scottish Borders Council said The Central Borders Innovation Park, funding for which has come from parties including the Council and Borders Railway Blueprint Group, had evolved from a wider master plan for Tweedbank to maximise the Borders Railway’s economic impact.

Maghull North

Maghull North railway station

Maghull North railway station opened in June 2018 after just nine months of construction and was the first additional station on the Merseyrail network in 20 years.

The government’s Local Growth Fund (LGF), transport executive Merseytravel and the Homes and Communities Association funded the project – an example of our Open for Business initiative to attract more third-party investment to the railway.

The £13m scheme, part of a broader £340m railway investment in the Liverpool City Region, forms part of the Great North Rail Project to transform travel in the region.

The station, which serves the thousands of commuters who travel between Maghull and Liverpool, has provided a transport link for a new, large housing development.

Midlands Rail Hub

We’re working with industry partners on a major project to significantly improve transport links between the East and West Midlands.

The Midlands Rail Hub will increase capacity for passenger and freight trains. In fact, we’re proposing 24 extra passenger trains an hour and 36 additional freight paths every day.

The improvements will bring another 1.6 million people to within an hour of the Midlands’ biggest towns and cities by public transport, making it possible for more people to commute further for work and education.

Cambridge North station

Cambridge North, opened in May 2017, serves trains operated by Greater Anglia on the Cambridge to London Liverpool Street and Cambridge to Norwich routes.

It’s a vital access point to a nearby business park, which was previously only accessed by road.


We expect the station will encourage new businesses to the area and aid the expansion of Cambridge Science Park – a technology hub owned by Trinity College Cambridge – and St John’s Innovation Centre, part of St John’s Innovation Park established by the University of Cambridge.

Cambridge North station

New jobs for Doncaster

Friarsgate bridge in Doncaster

In July, we completed an important stage of a£14m investment in the railway in Doncaster. We worked alongside Doncaster Council and the Sheffield City Region, to expand Network Rail’s Marshgate Depot.

The project will involve demolishing existing buildings and replacing them with modern and larger facilities. These have the potential to create hundreds more jobs in Doncaster.

We have strengthened, widened and raised a bridge at the site to accommodate taller and larger vehicles.

Ros Jones, Mayor of Doncaster, said: “The scheme is also important for unlocking further commercial development around our markets area providing more opportunities for private sector investment and regeneration which will deliver jobs and growth for our borough.”

Read more

Growing appetite for investment in Britain’s railway

How fast can we build a railway station?

Rail freight and the impact of investment

Freight demystified: five things you didn’t know

Scotland set for freight growth