Recent data shows that there were 87.1 million rail passenger journeys taken in Scotland in 2011-12. Passenger numbers north of the border have gone up each year from 49 million in 1995-6 - good news for supporters of the £294 million Borders railway from Edinburgh to Galashiels currently being constructed and expected to start service in 2015.
It also gives heart to RAGES (Rail Action Group East of Scotland) who have been campaigning for improved local rail services for East Lothian and Berwickshire for over a decade - a 1862 signature petition calling for the re-opening of Reston Station was presented to the Scottish Parliament’s Petitions Committee in 2002 and RAGES are still fighting for an improved rail service between Edinburgh and Berwick, including Reston Station being brought back into service.
Reston Station opened in 1846; passenger services were withdrawn in 1964 and total closure took place in 1966. However Reston Station supporters are adamant that there is a role for it to play for local services between Berwick and Edinburgh and continue to push the authorities to consider investing the £2.5 million required to re-open the station.
“These figures are certainly encouraging,” said Barry Forrest, vice chair of RAGES. “But we are very frustrated about the slow progress being made.
“The findings of the latest study haven’t been made public because Transport Scotland has asked Scottish Borders Council and East Lothian Council for more information.
“Everyone I speak to is desperate for it to happen so why don’t they take people’s views into account and get on with the job?”
The largest growth in train journeys in Scotland was in West Lothian where there was a 17 per cent increase as a result of the new Airdrie to Bathgate line starting in 2011.
Scottish Borders Council said: “The draft study in relation to the provision of a local rail service between Edinburgh and Berwick-upon-Tweed was recently submitted to Transport Scotland for comment and Scottish Borders Council, East Lothian Council and Sestran (South East Scotland Transport Partnership) will be meeting representatives from Transport Scotland in the near future to discuss the points that they have subsequently made.”