IT has been revealed that Scottish Ministers don't have the power to extend the Borders Railway.

And doubts have already been expressed by the UK Department for Transport over the benefits of the reintroduction of tracks all the way to Carlisle.

Momentum has been growing since funding was announced for a feasibility study earlier this year into taking the Borders Railway through Hawick, Newcastleton and across the English border.

But the papers released by the Scottish government in response to a Freedom of Information request reveal that they can't give the go-ahead.

And that support from south of the border is not universal.

Among the released files and emails is a previously confidential Transport Position Paper from September, 2018.

It states: " It should be noted that Scottish Ministers do not have the powers to construct a cross-border railway line as they only have the powers to construct a railway which starts, ends and remains in Scotland.

"Accordingly, the power to construct a railway line from Tweedbank to Carlisle in its entirety would rest with the UK Government."

The signing of the Borderlands Inclusive Growth Deal partnership, which is made up of five local authority areas either side of the border, was seen as a major boost for the extension going ahead.

The newly released papers show the partnership wrote in June 2018 to Hamza Yousaf, then Scottish Transport Minister, regarding the Borders Railway extension.

According to that letter: "The Settle-Carlisle line shows the benefits of having alternative routes to support the resilience of the rail network.

"The line was threatened with closure in the 1980s but following a successful campaign to keep it open the line was reprieved in 1989.

"Since then the line has played a key role for re-routed main line passenger services when the West Coast or East Coast Main Lines have been closed and for freight services between Scotland/Cumbria and the rest of England.

"The Borders Railway between Carlisle and Edinburgh could be equally successful in providing this vital role as an alternative route to the West and East Coast Main Lines for freight and passenger traffic and through this help maximise the growth of the Scottish and UK economy."

But the enthusiasm and optimism wasn't shared by the UK Department for Transport.

Feedback provided by the Department in July 2018 stated: "We are not convinced an extended Borders Railway would help with capacity issues on the West Coast Main Line.

"Assuming any such extension would have similar characteristics to the existing line i.e. slow and un-electrified, it would not be attractive for re-routing any of the existing services using the West Coast Main Line.

"Diesel hauled trains not in a hurry already go via Dumfries so having another diversionary/alternative route would not add much."