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Portobello station campaign builds up a head of steam

A RAILWAY station in Portobello, which has not been in use since the 1960s, could be reopened under ambitious proposals being put forward by local campaigners.

Rail enthusiasts hope to reopen Portobello station which was closed as part of the swingeing cuts to the network following the publication of the Beeching Report in 1963.

City transport officials are investigating the idea following a motion put forward by local councillor Maureen Child.

Members of the Capital Rail Action Group (Crag) hope that the reintroduction of the station would allow trains from North Berwick and services on the Edinburgh crossrail line to stop at Portobello.

However, all that remains of the original station is the station master's house, which sits at Station Brae, off Brighton Place.

Lawrence Marshall, of Crag, said running trains through Portobello would dramatically reduce journey times for those travelling in and out of the city centre.

He said: "The station is fairly central and you can get down from Waverley in four or five minutes. Sometimes it takes up to half-an-hour to get to Portobello by bus from the city centre.

"Brunstane station serves the Joppa end, but it's quite far away from the rest of Portobello. Reopening the station would mean there would be four trains an hour at peak times during the week.

"There are some issues to be resolved, but I hope the council will see the benefits outweigh the drawbacks of the work needed to get it back into the network."

He added: "Everything so far has focused on people who commute in from outside the city, while those inside have been neglected. Reopening Portobello would make real journey time savings for those inside the city."

A report published last week at the Association of Train Operating Companies (Atoc) called for many of the stations closed during the Beeching era to be reopened.

Cllr Child said she hoped council officials would recommend the reopening of Portobello station be included in the Scottish Government's Strategic Transport Review Project (STPR), its list of long-term transport objectives.

She said: "I think it's very unfortunate that Portobello was not reopened at the same time as Brunstane and Newcraighall were opened. I am hopeful that the council will agree to write to the minister of transport and I would be very surprised and disappointed if they didn't."

A spokeswoman for the city council said a report was being prepared and would go before the transport and environment committee at the end of July.

Councillor Gordon Mackenzie, the city's transport convener, added: "The East of Scotland rail improvements package was put forward as part of the STPR as a means of improving services within the Edinburgh area. It did not specify any specific elements to be considered. It therefore makes sense for the council to highlight possible opportunities to make enhancements to services."

 
 
 

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