Tom Thorburn: Berwick rail link takes work

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THESE are exciting times at the moment in the world of rail transport in Scotland and it is very much at the forefront of the minds of everyone in these areas that we see approval given for the Edinburgh to Berwick Service Local Service and re-opened stations at East Linton and Reston.

It is imperative that we see this local service introduced to Berwick so that we can have train services available to areas of East Lothian and East Berwickshire that have not had a rail service since 1964.

The benefits will be enormous to these communities served by re-opened stations at East Linton and Reston.

Students, for instance, would have access to tertiary education without having to leave home and access to a wider job market within Edinburgh and areas beyond which are well-connected to rail services.

More people would have the ability to take in theatre and festival visits, and tourists would have the ability to get to a wealth of visitor attractions in East Lothian and Berwickshire, including Preston Mill, Foxlake water park, Hailes Castle, John Muir Park, St Abbs Nature Reserve, Eyemouth and the Jim Clark Room.

Our carbon footprint would be reduced vastly as car mileage would be drastically cut.

In addition, Dunbar and Berwick would see much improved services throughout the day and more especially early morning and late-night services.

The Rages (Rail Action Group East of Scotland) committee are very grateful for the continued support of our aim to have a local service re-introduced with the excellent financial commitment by East Lothian and Scottish Borders Councils towards the capital costs of Reston and East Linton Stations.

This financial commitment has now been submitted to Transport Minister Keith Brown MSP and Transport Scotland in the form of a Scottish Stations Fund bid for their perusal and hopeful approval.

The Rages committee has now written to Transport Minister, Keith Brown MSP seeking a meeting with him.

Along with all the support given to date by the councils, MSPs, community councils, RAGES members and the public at large, this puts us in a strong position to achieve several of our main aims to see the Edinburgh to Berwick-upon-Tweed local services in place with re-opened stations at East Linton and Reston.

• Tom Thorburn is chairman of the Rail Action Group, East of Scotland