Extending the Borders Railway is one of the options being considered by a new study about to look at improving transport links in the south of Scotland.
Potential improvements to roads including the A1 will also be on the agenda.
Transport Scotland has awarded the contract to carry out the study to consultant Jacobs UK, and it is expected to start work on it later this month, with completion due in around seven months’ time.
The findings will help inform a Scottish Government strategic transport projects review considering options for the whole of the country.
Transport minister Humza Yousaf said: “In the Scottish Government’s programme for government, a commitment was given to examine the case for an extension of the Borders railway, along with improvements to the A1, A7 and A68.
“This study will take forward that commitment by considering how we improve accessibility in the Borders, link communities to key markets through strategic transport routes and identify where improvements to transport links are required.
“We want to build on the existing Borders Railway by considering whether it should be extended to Carlisle.
“The study will also look at how we improve access from the Borders to key markets in to Edinburgh, Carlisle and Newcastle.
“Working with Scottish Borders Council and the South East of Scotland Transport Partnership, Transport Scotland will identify a range of options for improving transport – new rail services, improvements to existing road infrastructure and improved public transport provision.”