Increased rail services between London and Edinburgh will not put a local Berwick to Edinburgh service at risk.
That had been the fear of those who have been campaigning for the local train service when they realised that the Office of Rail and Road (ORR), the body that awards track access rights, had received applications for increased paths between London and Edinburgh.
RAGES (Rail Action Group East Scotland) and other groups contacted the ORR to seek assurance that the paths required for the local service would not be taken over and the Transport Minister responded saying that “ScotRail has formally applied to the Office of Rail and Road for the required track access [for the local service].”
RAGES had also requested that the local service start before the re-opened stations planned at Reston and East Linton are available, but ScotRail has indicated that this is not possible due to rolling stock not being available until 2017 at the earliest.
The cost of re-opening the stations - estimated at around £7 million - was higher than expected but RAGES say it appears that solutions are being found to the engineering problems that were first envisaged by Network Rail, which should result in the costs reducing.
As they wait to find out if the figures for the local rail service and the re-opening of the two stations stack up as far as the funding bodies are concerned - Scottish Borders Council and East Lothian Council are both committed to investing in the stations - RAGES have been buoyed by the success of the Borders Railway since it’s official opening in September.
The new Borders service has seen passenger numbers exceed those estimated in initial reports and RAGES believes that the formula used to calculate passenger numbers on an Edinburgh-Berwick rail service should be re-visited in light of the Border railway figures.