like Stuart Stevenson before him, current Transport Minister Keith Brown is to visit Berwickshire as the quest to re-open Reston station reaches a crucial point.
It was in the summer of 2008 that Mr Stevenson visited the site of the former station and to hear the case of members of action group RAGES, local councillors and John Lamont MSP as to why it should be re-opened.
The then Transport Minister’s visit gave RAGES renewed hope after he made assurances that the Scottish Government would fund a development study by MVA Consultancy into re-opening stations at Reston and East Linton, the results of which were made public a few months ago.
However, on meeting with the current Transport Minister at a meeting at the Scottish Government last Wednesday, November 23, members were left concerned by a suggestion by Mr Brown that a further study could yet be required before any further progress is made.
He was reminded that after the STAG1 (Scottish Transport Appraisal Guidelines) was published, the previous incumbent commissioned the MVA Study in place of a STAG2, but neither he or any of those present from Transport Scotland were unable to answer why a recommendation for another study had been made.
Someone else in attendance at the meeting was Berwickshire MSP John Lamont who said that the time for studies and surveys had passed and it was time for the Scottish Government to throw their weight behind the project.
Speaking after the meeting, he said: “I am pleased that the Minister has stated that he will visit Reston to view the situation and address the concerns of local residents. However this cannot and should not be another stalling measure. Decisions need to be made, and any further delay will simply increase the frustrations of residents. The time for surveys and reports has passed, we need the Scottish Government’s support to get this project moving.
“I believe that a strong case has been made for the re-opening of Reston Station. A station in east Berwickshire could operate as a transport hub for the surrounding area which boasts an estimated population of 10,000 people. Beauly Station which reopened at the turn of the Millennium had only a population of 1200. Moreover, the population of East Lothian is projected to grow by 33% between 2008 and 2032.”
The Borders Party have also shown their support for the re-opening of Reston station, with their Berwickshire representative, Cat Macdonald-Home commenting: “When this project was first mooted, the Party was concerned that the extra stop could affect existing East Coast services between Edinburgh and Newcastle. In fact the MVA Consultancy study makes clear it shouldn’t interfere with existing journey times and frequency. Indeed, it could create new demand for additional, semi-fast services with trains stopping at each local station on the line while not interfering with high-speed East Coast trains.
“The predicted cost for the launch of a station at Reston - £2.5m - is less than 1% of the proposed Border Railway to Galashiels. So the project should be relatively cost-effective and provide benefits to the Borders as a whole.”