Railway campaigners from Berwickshire and East Lothian had their day in the Scottish Parliament last week during a debate on plans for a local service to run from Edinburgh to Berwick.
Jim Hume, Scottish Liberal Democrat MSP for South Scotland, who led the members’ debate on the reopening of Reston and East Linton train stations praised Rail Action Group East of Scotland (RAGES)on their tenacity, determination and resilience.
Welcoming the Scottish Government’s agreement for a two hourly service stopping at Reston and East Linton in the Scotrail franchise recently won by Abellio, Mr Hume called on the new Transport Minister to look favourably on the joint bid to the Scottish Stations Fund.
Mr Hume said: “The tenacity of the Rail Action Group East of Scotland members is immense. Without a shadow of a doubt their sheer hard work, determination and savvy campaigning has kept this issue in the spotlight across changing Holyrood and council administrations since they were set up in 1999.
“The RAGES chairman, Tom Thorburn, vice-chairman Barrie Forrest, secretary Russell Darling and all their committee members have campaigned tirelessly to keep rail services on the agenda. That hard work is paying off.
“The RAGES team are an exemplar of community campaigning.
“In time it will be important to see an affordable pricing structure for passengers, with a timetable that works for commuters and tourists alike. More immediately, a firm timetable and deadline for construction works now is an imperative.”
Reston’s Barrie Forrest was with other RAGES campaigners in Parliament to hear the debate and afterwards he said: “All MSPs who spoke at the debate were fully supportive of the rail and also gave a lot of praise to RAGES for their campaign which brought a wee lump to throat of Tom (Thorburn) and myself when our names were mentioned”.
“After the debate Paul Wheelhouse MSP brought the new Transport Minister, Derek Mackay, over to the Public Gallery and introduced him to Tom and myself and he said the Government are supportive of the new rail service.”