Full steam ahead for Borders rail bid

Borders MP Calum Kerr has turned up the pressure on rail bosses to provide a new hourly train service between Berwickshire and Edinburgh.

By The Newsroom
Monday, 01 February, 2016, 15:00
A Scotrail electric train of the type to be used for the local services between Berwick and Edinburgh calling at Reston.

He has warned the industry’s regulator that a less regular timetable could mean that the route would not be economically viable.

Plans to build a station at Reston are well developed, with ScotRail planning to run local services linking Edinburgh with Newcastle.

At present, the nearest stopping points for Berwickshire are at Berwick or Dunbar.

However, there are growing worries that the proposed new hourly services on the route could be squeezed out as mainline long distance train operating companies apply for the right to run their own services.

Mr Kerr has now written to the Head of the Office of Road and Rail, which regulates the industry, in a bid to stop this happening.

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He has asked the watchdog for an assurance that a service running at least hourly to and from Reston and another proposed new station at East Linton will be given the green light.

Mr Kerr said: “If this service is to be a success, then we have to find sufficient capacity on the line to be able to run trains at least once an hour.

“Any less frequently than this simply wouldn’t be sustainable. It would mean that if local rail users missed or weren’t able to catch one train, then they would probably face a two hour wait until the next one.

“They almost certainly wouldn’t do that. Instead, they’d probably just jump into their cars or use other forms of public transport, so negating the point of putting the new local rail services on in the first place.”

The MP is now seeking formal assurances from the regulator that an hourly service will be approved.