Minister in Borders

A WEEK ahead of his visit to Berwickshire to meet with local campaigners determined to see Reston station re-opened, Transport Minister Keith Brown has been in the Borders to check on the progress being made on the rail route linking the region to Edinburgh.

Mr Brown travelled to Galashiels on Tuesday to meet officials from Transport Scotland and Scottish Borders Council.

Whilst there he was also briefed on the town’s inner relief road works but top of the agenda was the Borders Railway which is scheduled to see its first trains in late 2014.

The tender process for the £295m scheme from Tweedbank to Edinburgh was scrapped last year and Network Rail has since been asked to deliver the 35 mile (56km) railway project after two of three bidders for the work pulled out.

There have been regular concerns expressed about the plans but the Scottish Government has repeatedly renewed its commitment to the route.

The rail link will re-establish passenger railway services from Edinburgh through Midlothian to Tweedbank for the first time since 1969 and although they have supported the scheme, the people the Transport Minister will meet next week think it’s about time transport links over this side of the Borders were back in action too.

Rail Action Group East of Scotland (RAGES) have been campaigning for close to 10 years for the re-opening of Reston station but following a number of reports and a visit from Keith Brown’s predecessor Stuart Stevenson, they are still to achieve their aim.

With the support of local politicians they have taken their case to Holyrood and claim the results of a recent consultation prove the need for improved transport links in the eastern Borders, including a fully functional station at East Linton as well as Reston and they are hoping they’ll get the chance to state their case again next week.

Mr Brown will only be in the area for a short time next Tuesday, February 28; calling at East Linton, Reston and Eyemouth.