Opening of Reston Station back on track
The re-opening of Reston Station is close to becoming a reality now after the Scottish Government and Scottish Borders Council agreed to increase their contribution.
A 17 year campaign to get both Reston and East Linton (East Lothian) stations re-opened and a local rail service between Edinburgh and Berwick-upon-Tweed looks to be on the home straight and trains could be running by 2018.
Initial costs for the work required to open stations at Reston and East Linton were estimated at around £7.5 million and in 2014 SBC and East Lothian Council made a joint proposal to contribute £3.1 million towards it. Preliminary design work by Network Rail, however, put the costs at £21.7 million and the Scottish Government has increased its financial contribution to 50% of the estimated cost of each station (Reston is estimated to cost £10.63 million and East Linton £11.3 million).
Following a recent meeting between the two councils and SEStran (South East Scotland Transport Network) East Lothian Council has confirmed it will raise its contribution towards East Linton from £1.5m to £3.44 million and Scottish Borders Council will up its contribution for Reston Station from £1.28 million to £2.84 million.
East Lothian and Scottish Borders Councils and SEStran have written to the Minister for Transport, Humza Yousaf, with a proposal that would see the Scottish Government take responsibility for the construction of the stations, including the risk (optimism bias) element of Network Rail’s costings and the councils would raise their respective contributions of £3.44m for East Linton and £2.84m for Reston to cover the total construction costs less the Government’s offer of 50% and the risk elements.
Should the offers be accepted by the Scottish Government, both councils and SEStran will submit a fresh bid to the Scottish Stations Fund to close the funding gap to allow the project to go ahead. The two councils and SEStran had previously applied to the Scottish government’s Rail Station Fund for money towards the stations.
Train operators bidding to take over the next Scotrail franchise in 2015 were told to include the option of services using Reston and East Linton in their bids.
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Councillor Gordon Edgar, SBC’s executive member for roads and infrastructure, said: “I am pleased that the council has been able to increase its offer to the Scottish Government towards the delivery of Reston station, and we continue to work closely with partners to ensure this becomes a reality as soon as possible.”
This increased offer by SBC was endorsed in private at a meeting of Scottish Borders Council’s executive committee on Tuesday, August 16.
East Lothian Council’s spokesperson for transport and roads, Councillor Michael Veitch, said:“This is an unprecedented level of contribution from a local authority partner for a project of this kind – which shows just how much value East Lothian Council places on this project.
“A local rail service covering Reston and East Linton and linking these two communities to Berwick-upon-Tweed and Edinburgh could be of huge benefit to the local economy in terms of making this area an even more attractive place to live, with great transport links. It would also be a boost to local businesses, bringing visitors to these communities from East Lothian and beyond.”
“The decision lies with the Scottish Government to give this project the green light, which we obviously hope will happen soon. At which point, a full impact assessment will be carried out, looking at the potential impact on the community, environment and economy and the council’s capital programme.”