Case made for reopening Reston station

THE Feasibility Study for enhanced rail services between Edinburgh and Newcastle was discussed at a consultation meeting held in Haddington recently.

By The Newsroom
Wednesday, 14th July 2010, 11:33 am
Updated Wednesday, 14th July 2010, 11:33 am

The meeting was held by MVA consultancy, who were commissioned by Transport Scotland to compile the study, for local organisations. Rail Action Group, East of Scotland (RAGES) were among those who attended, and other groups are being written to for their views.

MVA consultancy were represented by Scott Leitham and Paul McCartney, who reiterated the study objective - to provide a complete, operationally robust, demand driven and economically sustainable train service proposal for the Edinburgh Newcastle route, having considered and appraised all of the stakeholder desires.

The feasibility study will look at two main elements: Timetabling - what is operationally possible based on the May 2011 Eureka timetable; and business case development for new service options.

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New service options that will be looked at include Edinburgh to Dunbar (it was noted that ScotRail are separately considering an Edinburgh-Dunbar hourly service), Edinburgh to Berwick, Edinburgh to Newcastle, Reduced Long Distance High Speed (LDHS) service calls at Dunbar, and new/reopening of stations at East Linton and Reston.

There was much discussion from the eight-strong floor representing Dunbar, Reston and Coldingham.

Councillor Hampshire, whilst welcoming hourly services to Dunbar, did not want to see any reduction in long distance trains stopping there, with RAGES in agreement with this.

David Jones of Coldingham passionately made his case for the re-opening of Reston station - not only would the people of Reston benefit from this, but all the surrounding areas.

Mr Jones noted that it is not possible to park in Berwick unless you are there early and options to expand the car park are non-existent.

However, he said that there is plenty of space for car parking to make Reston a 'rail hub', and Mr Jones wants the Reston area to be able to benefit from the new east coast main line services.

Rhona Goldie of Coldingham Community Council noted that many would-be visitors didn't book in the area when they found that they could not get there easily by rail.

The feasibility study is due to complete in October with findings published in November. There will be another consultation meeting later in the summer where an "emerging set of options" will be discussed.

David Jones invited MVA Consultancy to hold this next meeting in Coldingham to allow more of the local community to air their views.

Scott Leitham said that background research is currently being carried out, although actual timetabling options cannot be carried out until the Eureka timetable is fairly well established.

The last entry on the slides was: "Balance between local and long distance needs is the key issue here", but the type of rail services wanted and needed by the local communities was made clear to MVA Consultancy at the meeting. Thanks are due to Scott and Paul for their meeting at Haddington.