THE case for re-opening Reston Station on the main east coast line is gathering steam and the consultants’ report into local rail services between Edinburgh and Newcastle is now complete.
Although the consultant’s findings have not yet been made public local action group RAGES (Rail Action Group East Scotland) are confident that there is sufficient network space on the rail system to accommodate a local service and they are stepping up the pressure on both local and national politicians for support.
Ettrick, Roxburgh and Berwickshire MSP John Lamont is already onboard with the campaign, and speaking in the Scottish Parliament last week he asked when the new Scottish Government will make a further announcement regarding the re-opening of Reston Station.
Transport Minister Keith Brown replied: “First ScotRail commissioned a study to investigate the business case for rail enhancements between Edinburgh and Newcastle, including potential new stations at East Linton and Reston.
“The study is due to be finalised later this summer.
“We will consider the outcomes and use them to inform our future decisions for the High Level Output Specifications (2014 - 2019).”
Afterwards Mr Lamont said: “One of the key issues raised with me during the election campaign was the need for improvements in our transport network.
“In order to retain jobs in the area and attract new investment, we need to have a first class transport network, which includes roads, rail and public transport.
“Earlier this week the UK Government recognised the strategic importance of the A1 to road users and this could pave the way for improvements to this route.
“However, many people are surprised that, although the East Coast Mainline runs right through our area, there is not a single station serving the local population.
“Re-opening the station at Reston would open up the rail network for residents, commuters and visitors alike.
“I have asked the new Transport Minister when the Scottish Government will make an announcement on Reston Station.
“It is clear that any decision will depend on the results of the study commissioned by First Scotrail which is currently being conducted.
“I hope that this report will recognise the need for rail services in Berwickshire and I will continue to press the Government when the study is published later this summer.”
In the meantime while RAGES are waiting to see the consultants’ report they are working on a “combined case” to take forward to the government.
The group are asking the two councils - Scottish Borders Council and East Lothian Council - to write to the Minister for Transport asking for copies of the study and a subsequent meeting. They also want copies sent to Transport Scotland and Northumberland County Council.
RAGES also plan on briefing all MSPs in the area - both constituency and list) requesting that they also lobby the minister.
RAGES believe that ScotRail might be interested in running late night Saturday trains to Dunbar at 9pm and around 11pm and they also intend contacting ScotRail’s managing director for confirmation of this interest as they seek to add strength to their case for a local rail service in both East Lothian and Berwickshire prior to publication of the report.