MOTHBALLED railway stations are set to reopen after more than half a century after services for stops at the platforms were written into the next ScotRail franchise.
Stations at East Linton, in East Lothian, and Reston, in Berwickshire, will be included in the two-hourly service between Edinburgh and Berwick under the new planning timetable.
Both were closed following the Beeching Report of 1964 which moved to axe rail routes amid increased competition from road haulage services.
If momentum continues trains could be running through both stations as early as December 2016.
The news comes as a further boost to passengers, who used to have to depend on long-distance East Coast and CrossCountry trains from Dunbar before a ScotRail service was launched in 2010.
Transport Minister Keith Brown revealed the development following the announcement of Abellio as the new ScotRail operator.
He said: “This is a huge step forward towards the realisation of these services and shows a real commitment from the Scottish Government and ScotRail.
“Scotland’s railways are a driver for economic regeneration and can bring jobs, investment and new study and social opportunities for communities.
“Our Scottish Stations Fund is now awaiting further details from the South East Scotland Regional Transport Partnership (SEStran) and East Lothian and Scottish Borders Councils for the funding application which will bring the new stations at East Linton and Reston to life.”
The Transport Minister will now meet rail campaigners to discuss the progress of plans.
Russell Imrie, chair of South East of Scotland Transport Partnership (SEStran) said the inclusion of the two stations demonstrated the “importance of the East Coast main line to the economy of Scotland”.
He said: “This [news] fits very well with SEStran’s objectives of encouraging alternatives to private car use, contributing to the government’s ambitious targets for reduction of greenhouse gases and supporting economic development in Edinburgh and throughout the SEStran area.
Tom Thorburn, chairman of Rail Action Group East of Scotland said: “This is terrific news for our area and will be of huge benefit to a whole range of people and businesses, namely those wishing to access jobs in Edinburgh; students being able to commute for their tertiary education at QMU and Edinburgh; as well as the ability [for people] to take in the theatre and sporting fixtures, and tourist access to our areas from other parts of the country.