Class 380 EMU at Drem on its first day
Rail Action Group East of Scotland
RAGES

Contents

Aims of RAGES

To improve the rail service between Edinburgh, Dunbar and Berwick upon Tweed.

To have East Linton and Reston stations re-opened for active use.

To improve the level of service to North Berwick.

To re-open the branch line from Longniddry to Haddington.

To consider the implications with regard to car parking and bicycle storage at stations between Waverley and Berwick upon Tweed.

To keep under scrutiny the standards of passenger facilities at stations between Waverley and Berwick, including North Berwick, and to draw the attention of the relevant bodies to shortcomings which arise.

The group, being environmentally minded, will actively strive to encourage rail travel within its geographical area.

 

Berwick Station

Our Berwick Representative, Barrie Forrest BEM, visited the station last week (4th October) and reports that the booking office has again moved and reduced from two windows to one. 

Barrie noted that there were long queues and a lot of frustration.

His photographs taken at his visit can be seen at our Berwick page.

Latest Campaign News

Just a few weeks prior to the June 2018 Scottish Government cabinet re-shuffle which announced that Michael Matheson MSP had become the next Minister for Transport, RAGES had a meeting with Humza Yousaf MSP the then Minister for Transport.

Environment Minister, Paul Wheelhouse MSP, had arranged the meeting with Transport Minister, Humza Yousaf MSP, at Holyrood on Tuesday 5th June 2018 on behalf of RAGES and Reston Station Petition organisers. Present at this meeting were: Humza Yousaf MSP; Paul Wheelhouse MSP; Iain Whyte, Senior Case Worker to Paul Wheelhouse MSP; East Berwickshire Councillor Helen Laing; Gordon McLeod, Transport Scotland; Rhona Proctor, Transport Scotland; Alice Fisher; Lisa Davidson; Barrie Forrest BEM and Tom Thorburn.

After the introductions, Alice and Lisa explained their reasoning behind raising the petition which had attracted in excess of 3400 signatures. In essence the petition had been organised out of sheer frustration of the continued wait to see trains returning to a station at Reston, with no public transport access to the Edinburgh jobs market and tertiary education for our younger generation. On top of this there was a lacking in confidence of developers in the Eastern Berwickshire area and no transport links for day tourists and those taking holidays in this beautiful area of Scotland. It was also pointed out that residents, who had moved to this area on the premise of Reston Station re-opening, had moved away again due to the extended time lapsed to date with no station or train service.

Paul Wheelhouse MSP then presented his paper copy of his slide show to demonstrate the time line of Reston Station from the first campaigning of RAGES to the present day with the presentation of the second petition. To be fair, Paul even had Keith Brown’s letter which showed East Linton and Reston Stations opening in December 2016 and the fact that there was total cross party support for these stations.

RAGES pointed out that we live in the lowest average earnings area of Scotland, have no rail services and consequently residents have to provide their own transport. On top of this we have some of the highest fuel prices where non supermarket filling station prices are some eight pence per litre higher than in Edinburgh. Many young people are being denied tertiary education due to these basic factors, whilst others move out, never to return. The lack of services to Dunbar was also raised. This town has seen a massive influx of new residents and, with a further 1500 new houses planned, there was not enough trains to satisfy the numbers commuting to Edinburgh and beyond. The Minister was presented with the passenger count that had been undertaken by RAGES on 21st May 2018 which clearly showed the requirement for more trains.

The Transport Minister did acknowledge and had sympathy with the points put to him. He stated that he was also very keen to see our stations re-opened to allow a passenger service to return to our area. The Minister would not be drawn on a date for the stations re-opening but re-iterated that it would be in the early part of Control Period 6 (2019 to 2024). Again, the Minister was pressed for a date due to our basic requirements for proper public transport. It was at this point that he instructed Transport Scotland to ensure that the stations were to be constructed in parallel to the upgrade of Portobello Junction. This was acknowledged as a positive move as RAGES views Portobello Junction to be a major problem area for Network Rail and Train Operating Companies. In other words this problem area would be addressed first in four major investment areas in CP6 with the stations being constructed in parallel – not afterwards.

The meeting concluded with the Transport Minister stating that he would write to RAGES giving an update on the development work resulting from the Capacity Study between Edinburgh and Berwick. Paul Wheelhouse MSP stated that on conclusion of the Study, plans for East Linton and Reston Stations are to be released for the public to see that our rail passenger needs are being taken very seriously. RAGES stated that the station at Reston would have the effect of a ‘Blood Transfusion’ to our area.

On a personal note, Tom noted that it was great to have Alice and Lisa at the meeting to enable the Minister and Transport Scotland representatives to hear the requirements of Reston from another perspective.

Since the meeting, Tom has written to request a meeting with Michael Matheson, the new Minister as soon as possible to ensure that he continues with the commitments that his predecessor promised at the June meeting, but he has so far been unable to fit RAGES in his diary.

At the RAGES AGM held on 19 September 2018, storm Ali prevented the speakers from Transport Scotland and Network Rail from attending.  This was unfortunate as we had hoped for our many questions to be answered about the continuing delay in the publication of the East Coast Capacity Enhancement study and the future of our stations and local service.  Their absence left Paul Wheelhouse MSP having to defend the Government during the somewhat heated debate from the chair and the floor.