The new Borders Railway should aim to take one million visitors to the south of Scotland by 2020, according to the First Minister.

Alex Salmond, who was in the region today to publish a "vision" setting out the economic benefits of the new line, said the figure was a "big target" for the Borders.

Trains will be operational on the Borders Railway from September 2015, running between Edinburgh and Tweedbank.

New stations are being built at Shawfair, Eskbank, Newtongrange, Gorebridge, Stow, Galashiels and Tweedbank.

The Scottish Government says the new line will generate millions of pounds for the economy, transform tourism opportunities and open up communities in south-east Scotland as places to live and work.

Developments related to the Borders Railway project include the creation of a new 4,000-home community at Shawfair, Midlothian, with local amenities and a school due to open in September 2016.

A pilot scenic stream train experience is also planned, while the Great Tapestry of Scotland will be on display in Tweedbank.

Speaking from Abbotsford House, former home of Sir Walter Scott, in Melrose, the First Minister said: "When it opens next September, the Borders Railway offers a once-in-a-generation opportunity to deliver major economic and social benefits to Midlothian and the Scottish Borders. By working together, we will achieve this vision and today's plan sets out a bold commitment to making it happen.

"Tweedbank also has potential to be turned into a Central Borders Business Park, with greener, high-quality business and manufacturing facilities to attract new businesses and capitalise on the Borders' outstanding reputation in textiles.

"We can expect the Scottish economy to benefit by tens of millions of pounds from the train line. By September 2017, the area around the railway line will be an exceptional tourist destination, with a steam railway service, National Mining Museum Scotland, world-class exhibition spaces and the Great Tapestry of Scotland displayed in Tweedbank.

"Today I want to set a big target for the Borders. Edinburgh Castle attracts 1.4 million tourists each year. I see no reason why the Borders' tourist potential shouldn't take the number of journeys beyond the one million mark going down the line to see the magnificence of Midlothian and the Borders. That would be consistent with making this the greatest steam railway in Europe by 2020."