Reston station stalemate

The Scottish Government stands accused of playing Pass the Parcel when it comes to making a decision on an opening date for Reston and East Linton stations.

RAGES campaigner Barrie Forrest at the site of the old Reston Station.

Rail campaigners and local MP John Lamont are incensed that the recently appointed Scottish Transport Minister, Michael Matheson, is too busy to meet them to discuss the promised introduction of a local rail service between Edinburgh and Berwick on the east coast main line and the re-opening of stations at Reston and East Linton.

Michael Matheson is the fourth Transport Minister appointed since the SNP promised to reopen Reston station and Mr Lamont wrote to him urging him to prioritise Reston station and requested a meeting.

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After waiting over a month for a response Mr Lamont was told that the Minister would be unable to meet him in the coming months due to “a fully committed diary” and that a meeting would only happen once “further progress on the stations is available to share.”

John Lamont responded: “This is a completely shocking response from the Minister’s office and sadly it confirms my fear that the SNP simply do not see this as a priority.

“I wrote to the new Minister, pointing out that the Scottish Government has been saying it will reopen Reston station for four years. I find it astonishing that the response was to refuse a meeting, basically because no progress will be made any time soon.”

A similar request from RAGES (Rail Action Group East Scotland) chairman Tom Thorburn for a meeting with the Transport Minister was also turned down. At the RAGES AGM in Reston Village Hall last week Mr Thorburn accused the Scottish Government of playing “Pass the Parcel” with a decision on when the promised new stations will actually open.

“We have been campaigning for these stations to open for nearly 20 years,” said Mr Thorburn. “We have been shunted from one Transport Minister to another with delaying tactics from each so that no firm decision is taken when our new stations will happen.

“There is now a sixth Transport Minister, Michael Matheson, and when I tried to make an appointment to see him, his staff told me his diary was full. We have no way of knowing when our stations will happen – by 2024 or will they drop off Network Rail’s agenda altogether? It seems a “pass the parcel” exercise from one Minister to the next and the stations are not seen as a high priority project by the Scottish Government”.