Rail report calls for new Berwick-Edinburgh service

The report recommends a new local service Edinburgh down the eat coast.
The report recommends a new local service Edinburgh down the eat coast.
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Politicians have welcomed a report recommending the introduction of a new local rail service between Berwick and Edinburgh.

The study published on Tuesday also makes a strong case for the reopening of stations at both Reston and East Linton.

The consultancy firm appointed to undertake the analysis concludes that there “is a strong socio-economic case and a good benefit cost ratio to support these proposals.”

The findings are supported by figures showing that east Berwickshire is lagging behind the rest of the Borders in 
terms of household income and wages.

The report says the overall business case for a core Edinburgh-to-Berwick service has improved since a similar study was carried out in 2011.

It states: “There is now a good business case for the introduction of Edinburgh to Berwick local services.

“These services should stop throughout East Lothian to maximise the benefits of the service.”

The authors suggest that a new service “could be ‘planned in’ to future rail planning” if a commitment was made to run them.

An alternative proposal to make improvements to the bus service between Berwickshire and Edinburgh was ruled out.

MSPs John Lamont and Jim Hume have both welcomed the findings.

Mr Lamont said: “A station at Reston would serve thousands of people who live in the surrounding area, and give Berwickshire a local train service.

Mr Hume added: “With the prospect of Reston now finally being considered as part of the new east coast rail franchise, we’re almost within touching distance of seeing trains in Berwickshire.

“Crucial to all of the negotiations further down the line will be for timetables to reflect the travelling needs of the local population.”

The report was compiled by MVA Consultancy for SEStran, Scottish Borders Council and East Lothian Council and was prepared in close liaison with Transport Scotland.