The pressure on rail bosses to provide a new hourly train service between Berwick and Edinburgh has been turned up by Borders MP Calum Kerr.
Aware that a local service would only be viable if trains were running at least every hour, Mr Kerr is concerned that pressure from companies such as Virgin East Coast and CrossCountry to run their own services, known as pathways, could mean a local service being squeezed out before it even begins.
Mr Kerr has written to the head of the Office of Road and Rail, which regulates the industry, in a bid to stop this happening.
He has asked the watchdog for an assurance that a service running at least hourly to and from the proposed new stations at Reston and East Linton in East Lothian will be given the green light.
Mr Kerr said: “I’ve pointed out that if this service is to be a success, then we have to find sufficient capacity on the line to be able to run trains at least once an hour.
“Any less frequently than this simply wouldn’t be sustainable. It would mean that if local rail users missed or weren’t able to catch one train, then they would probably face a two hour wait until the next one.
“They almost certainly wouldn’t do that. Instead, they’d probably just jump into their cars or use other forms of public transport, so negating the point of putting the new local rail services on in the first place.”
The MP is now seeking formal assurances from the regulator that an hourly service will be approved.
He added: “Only if this happens can the people of Berwickshire and East Lothian look forward to a reliable and sustainable new service which fully meets their needs, and I hope to hear that the watchdog agrees with me.”