Martin Whitfield MP has met with the Secretary of State for Transport to seek assurances that the new East Coast Main Line contract will not hold up the campaign for reopening stations at East Linton and Reston.
Mr Whitfield was joined by neighbouring MP John Lamont, who represents Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk, at the meeting with Chris Grayling MP to repeat their desire for the reopening of the stations as quickly as possible.
The meeting was arranged after the UK Government announced that rail services on the line would be controlled by the Department for Transport until 2020, following the failure of the Stagecoach and Virgin Trains franchise.
The Scottish Government has been promising that Reston and East Linton stations would reopen for several years. In 2014, the then Transport Secretary, Keith Brown MSP said he hoped trains would be stopping at the stations by the end of 2016.
Despite both East Lothian and Scottish Borders Councils having set aside their financial contribution, the Scottish Government has yet to confirm a date for the stations to reopen with funding only provided as part of a programme that does not even begin until 2019.
Martin Whitfield MP said:
“Local campaigners led by RAGES, East Lothian Council and my Holyrood colleague Iain Gray MSP have all been pushing for the re-opening of the rail station in East Linton. In particular, East Lothian Council deserves great credit for the financial commitment it has made to the project, despite facing significant year on year cuts to its budget.
“I was pleased the UK Government remains committed to facilitating the addition of East Linton and Reston to the East Coast Main Line, and that the Secretary of State for Scotland will also be ensuring that Network Rail understands the importance of these projects.
“Despite years of warm words by successive SNP Ministers, the Scottish Government has still not come up with a firm date for delivering the project. They have finally committed funding but only as part of a programme that doesn’t even get underway until next year. They need to get on with this vital infrastructure project and deliver the station sooner rather than later.”