Reston station omission angers campaigners

AFTEr being encouraged by the visit of the Transport Minister to Berwickshire a few months ago, supporters of the campaign to re-open Reston have been left angry that it failed to be featured in the Government’s £5 billion programme of investment in Scotland’s railways.

Keith Brown MSP revealed the investment in a statement last Thursday, June 21, but failed to give his backing to Reston becoming a fully operational station once again, something which has left action group RAGES hugely frustrated. They took their campaign to re-open both stations at Reston and East Linton to Parliament and were buoyed by what Mr Brown had to say when he visited both areas in March.

They have been pushing for better transport links for the eastern Borders for a decade but their campaign has hit a number of obstacles, mainly the number of reports and surveys that have been required to be carried out.

MSP for Berwickshire and Roxburgh, John Lamont has backed RAGES all the way and he found it hard to fathom exactly why Reston station failed to earn its place in the Government’s new investment programme.

He commented: “While the Minister is happy to talk about addressing local needs, he has so far chosen to side step the question of whether the SNP Government actually supports the campaign to restore train services to this part of the country. I know that this will come as a huge blow to the local campaigners and many residents for which a train station at Reston would be a huge help.

“He has visited Reston station and is well aware of the transport problems facing that area. There can be no doubt that restoring rail services to the region would be hugely positive and would assist the economic regeneration of the area. It is time that the SNP started to recognise this with action.”

Berwickshire MP Michael Moore, while welcoming the Government’s commitment to improving rail links nationwide, said he too would continue the fight for Reston.

As will RAGES secretary Barrie Forrest who said it was about time the Goverment “got their act together” and gave Borders the rail services they deserved. He told ‘The Berwickshire’: “It’s disheartening for everyone campaigning for Reston station that it wasn’t mentioned in the Transport Minister’s statement.

“People in the Borders have to get the same level of service as the rest of Scotland but we increasingly feel left out a limb. We’re still hoping to get the station in the 2014 rail franchise and the Government have to listen to us at some point.”