DURING my 30 years as a Borders resident, I can`t recall anything as important and as exciting as the re-opening of the Waverley railway line from Edinburgh to Tweedbank.

The Borders Railway is one of the biggest infrastructure projects delivered by the Scottish Government and is the longest domestic railway to be built in the UK in over a 100 years.

From the beginning of time, efficient transport has been a crucial component of economic development globally, nationally and locally. And there is little doubt, since the closure of the railway from Edinburgh to Hawick and Carlisle, that the Scottish Borders has suffered from relatively poor transport links. This has been a critical factor, with the decline of our textile industry and the closure of other local businesses, in narrowing the attractiveness of the area to potential incoming enterprises.

That is until now!

At long last the railway is returning to the Scottish Borders with all the potential that means for growing existing businesses and the potential and impetus for new businesses, new residents and new ideas to come to us.

Running between Edinburgh Waverley Station and Tweedbank the journey will take less than an hour and will open up new opportunities for businesses to re-locate to the Borders. And in conjunction with that, additional incentives include the roll-out of Superfast Broadband and the new assisted area status in the railway corridor.

What I am particularly excited by is the prospect of thousands of new tourists coming to the Borders to see our many visitor attractions—including Abbotsford, Melrose and, in future, the Great Tapestry of Scotland and the outcomes of the excellent ongoing work that “Energise Galashiels” is pushing forward with under Mike Gray`s inspiring leadership.

And on top of all of that is the rapidly growing reputation of the Scottish Borders as an international destination for cycling and walking.

We now have the chance truly to put the Scottish Borders back on the business and tourist map of Scotland. So, in the coming months and years, let all of us take every opportunity to promote our fantastic Scottish Borders and its new railway, and to sing its praises and potential.

The construction and the opening of the new railway is a superb testament to effective partnership working. That undoubted success story so far must be built upon. Scottish Borders Council, local businesses, the Chamber of Commerce and development partners in Edinburgh, Midlothian and beyond will need to continue that spirit of joint working to truly make the Scottish Borders, once again, the place in which to live, work and prosper.

All aboard!