Rail Action Group East Scotland are pushing for East Linton and Reston railway stations to be opened by 2020.
Network Rail will include the delivery of East Linton and Reston railway stations in their programme of works after the local councils responded to an offer from the Scottish Transport Minister. The stations coukd open by 2021.
The council leader for Scottish Borders council is expecting progress within weeks on Reston railway station following the return of the councils contribution for the Borders Railway to Transport Scotland. If accepted, the council will save millions in interest.
Facing increasing criticism from local authorities, the Scottish government has offered an increased funding package for the proposed railway stations at East Linton and Reston.
The offer made will increase the proposed Scottish Government contribution to 60%; this is unprecedented in terms of the Scottish Stations Fund and has never been made in any previous station.
The second option would see the stations’ construction form part of a programme of works within the next Network Rail delivery period, which broadly aims to improve capacity to the east of Edinburgh. In this second option, the councils are not being required to increase the level of funding above that which they have stated is their limit.
Humza Yousaf, Minister for Transport and the Islands said
“The Scottish Government has been a strong supporter of the delivery of Reston and East Linton stations and is keen to work with local authorities to deliver rail infrastructure to meet the needs of their local communities.
“Currently, we fund new stations via the Scottish Stations Fund with central government funding limited to 50%; the balance being matched by contributions from promoters, whether local authorities or private developers.
“Recognising the budgetary pressures facing all parties concerned, I have written to both local authorities outlining my two potential solutions to the current funding shortfall.
“My first option seeks to address the shortfall by increasing the central government contribution to an unprecedented 60%, the second by incorporating the stations within a larger programme of works.
“The second option would see the stations’ construction form part of a programme of works within the next Network Rail delivery period, which broadly aims to improve capacity to the east of Edinburgh. In this second option, the councils are not being required to increase the level of funding above that which they have stated is their limit.
“In both instances, I would also be seeking a long term commitment from each council in respect of improved connectivity. For example, by ensuring appropriate bus services to the station from outlying communities and the provision of suitable interchange facilities to maximise the wider economic and social value of the stations.
“I am pleased to be able to offer these unprecedented solutions to allow the construction of these stations to progress. I’ve advised the councils that I’m happy to accept either option. The ball is now in the Councils’ court and I look forward, in due course, to hear how they wish to proceed.”
The Scottish transport minister has confirmed his support for restoring the railway stations at East Linton and Reston. The campaign group and a local MSP have advised that this is not sufficient.
The Scottish Borders Council has agreed to increase the funding towards the costs for reopening Reston railway station. It comes just a week after East Lothian Council agreed to increase funding after East Linton.
Source: BBC News
The Scottish Government appear to have agreed to providing £11m of funding towards the proposed railway stations at East Linton and Reston following a meeting between a local campaign group and the Scottish Transport Minister.