Push for station opening in 2020

Barrie Forrest at the site of the old Reston Station where work will soon start on access roads and car parking.
Barrie Forrest at the site of the old Reston Station where work will soon start on access roads and car parking.

A local rail action group is pushing for work on the new stations at Reston and East Linton to start in 2019, with them operational by 2020.

While no promises were made by Scottish Government Transport Minister Humza Yousaf when he and Transport Scotland officers met Rail Action Group East Scotland (RAGES) representatives last week he promised to look into the possibility of a 2020 opening date and indicated that the new stations were a priority for Network Rail’s programme of work in south east Scotland,

Funding for the new stations has been agreed between the Scottish Government, Scottish Borders Council and East Lothian Council and RAGES also sought assurances that due process would be carried out with ORR (Office of Rail Regulation) to ensure that paths for an hourly service are available and protected.

Tom Thorburn, RAGES chairman, said: “Barrie (Forrest) enquired if Network Rail would be starting to carry out survey work to enable plans to be submitted for car parks and access roads in March and April this year – the Minister was unsure of this, but Transport Scotland representatives informed the meeting that discussions were already underway between themselves and Network Rail.

“Given that the stations are simple two off four car platform stations, the point was pressed that construction time should be quick – in the order of less than a year such that we can see them opened as soon as possible.”

The Minister confirmed that all parties including RAGES would be invited to a high level meeting with Network Rail sometime in March. Mr Yousaf was invited to a meeting in Reston Community Hall in April, and accepted although adding that he would have to take advice given the close proximity of the local elections in May.

Also discussed were fares at Dunbar, a ScotRail station with fares set by Virgin Trains East Coast; the £4 to car park charge at Dunbar Station, unlike the other six stations in East Lothian; and a request for additional morning services run by ScotRail.