Bid to reopen Portobello rail station

Talks will be held between rail campaigners and the council aimed at reopening Portobello Station, 50 years after the last train stopped there.

Tuesday, 9th June 2015, 10:06 am
Campaigners would like to see Portobello railway station reopened
Campaigners would like to see Portobello railway station reopened

Local residents say reopening the station could cut journeys between Porty and the city centre to just a fifth of the current time, reducing the number of cars on the road and boosting the local economy and visitor numbers.

However, the cost of feasibility work needed ahead of any reopening is believed to be in the region of £250,000, with campaigners appealing to the council to contribute to the study.

Now regional public transport body SESTran will take the issue up with the council following calls from Portobello Community Council.

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Portobello Station used to sit on the East Coast Main Line, linking up with services to London via Berwick, as well as trains to Carlisle via the old Waverley Line through the Borders. Residents of the seaside community could also catch trains to Leith, Trinity and Morningside, as well as into central Edinburgh. However, the station was closed in 1964 as suburban rail lines around the Capital were slashed.

Community council chairman Geoff Lynn says locals want the station reopened to help reconnect Edinburgh’s shore to the city centre, improving access for commuters and encouraging day trippers to visit Portobello beach.

He said: “The issue is around who will fund the technical assessment of whether the station can be reopened or not, and the line works done to make that viable. The purpose of writing to the council is to ask them to pay for the initial work, even before you get to the assessment, to see if they would be willing to do that.

“I think our feeling and the feeling of the community is that there would be support for having a station in Portobello. Obviously the council is facing budgetary pressure, but if you’re looking for the city to grow, you have to provide means for people to travel in and out easily. You can’t do that just with roads.”

Nearby railway stations shut during a wave of cuts in the 1960s that are set to be reopened include East Linton in East Lothian, and Reston in the Borders. A council spokeswoman said it was aware of the interest in reopening Portobello Station.