East coast mainline study not necessary

Virgin Train on the East Coast mainline passing Ayton Castle
Virgin Train on the East Coast mainline passing Ayton Castle

Pressure is being put on the Scottish Transport Minister by local politicians to take a lead in moving the re-opening of Reston station forward.

Campaigners for the station are angry that Transport Scotland has ordered yet another study into capacity on the east coast mainline - to be completed by 2020 - and Conservatives Rachel Hamilton MSP and John Lamont MP are turning up the heat on the minister, Humza Yousaf, to reverse that the decision on the basis that another study is not necessary.

Praising the work done by RAGES (Rail Action Group East Scotland) in campaigning for a local rail service between Edinburgh and Berwick and the opening of stations at Reston and East Linton in East Lothian, Ms Hamilton said: “We are so close to seeing Reston Station re-opened as a result of their hard work.

“But we could be closer if Humza Yousaf concedes that a further study to conclude in 2020 is not necessary. Keith Brown MSP, when he was Transport Minister, said trains can be running to Reston and East Linton by 2016 – so why the change of heart now? I will be asking the current Transport Minister, Humza Yousaf MSP, that very question. And I look forward to his reply.

“Reston station has the potential to transform the Borders and currently it seems that bureaucracy is further delaying the re-opening of this vital station. It is time the Scottish Government, Transport Scotland and Network Rail pulled their heads together and re-opened this station.”

Speaking at RAGES recent AGM, MP John Lamont, who has supported the campaign for the re-opening of Reston station for many years, said: “The group and local residents have worked so hard to get to this stage despite many challenges and obstacles that have been put in their way.

“We now need to see the Scottish Government use their political muscle to make this project actually happen. Successive SNP Transport Ministers have promised to re-open these stations and yet after 10 years of SNP government we are still waiting for delivery.

“This must now change. I therefore fully support the decision of RAGES to start a letter/email writing campaign to the Transport Minister to show him the strength of local support for the re-opening of the stations at Reston and East Linton.”

Leader of Scottish Borders Council,Shona Haslam, also supports the re-opening of Reston Station and she added: “We have seen the benefits that the railway has brought to the Scottish Borders and as a council we are committed to ensuring its continued growth. This includes not only the station at Reston but also the extension of the railway to Carlisle via Hawick and Newcastleton.”