Class 380 EMU at Drem on its first day
Rail Action Group East of Scotland
RAGES

Contents

Aims of RAGES

To improve the rail service between Edinburgh, Dunbar and Berwick upon Tweed.

To have East Linton and Reston stations re-opened for active use.

To improve the level of service to North Berwick.

To re-open the branch line from Longniddry to Haddington.

To consider the implications with regard to car parking and bicycle storage at stations between Waverley and Berwick upon Tweed.

To keep under scrutiny the standards of passenger facilities at stations between Waverley and Berwick, including North Berwick, and to draw the attention of the relevant bodies to shortcomings which arise.

The group, being environmentally minded, will actively strive to encourage rail travel within its geographical area.

 

Office of Rail and Road Statistics

The Office of Rail and Road has just published its estimates of station usage for 2018/19 and be found at https://dataportal.orr.gov.uk/statistics/usage/estimates-of-station-usage/

Allow the web page to load and then scan down to find the interactive map where you can enter via drop-down menus any combination of: region; constituency; local authority; or a single station.

HST Farewell

As part of the farewell tours of the High Speed Train, "The Northumbrian" ran from Edinburgh to Leeds on 20th December 2019.  The HST set had been specially re-painted in its original Inter-City 125 blue and grey livery.

The train stopped at Dunbar's platform 1 and our photographer was there to catch the action.

One of his photographs can be seen on the Dunbar page.

These diesel trains have had a long association with Dunbar and the east coast main line.

In the early 1980s they replaced the Deltic locomotive-hauled trains on the east coast main line and have seen many different liveries with as many operators:  British Rail; GNER; National Express East Coast; East Coast; Virgin Trains East Coast; and latterly London North Eastern Railway.

Many HST's were displaced in the early 1990s by the InterCity 225 electic trains on the ECML, but some were still needed for the services to Glasgow, Inverness and Aberdeen where the electric overhead wires had not reached.

Now that the Azumas, which can change to diesel operation for the non-electrified parts of the network, are in service, the HST's are no longer required on the ECML.

However, some HSTs are being upgraded to run on the ScotRail network.

ScotRail Franchise

On 18th December 2019, the Scottish Government announced that the ScotRail franchise currently with Abellio will be terminated in March 2020, three years early, using the "break clause".

Dunbar Station

Network Rail's construction of the new platform and footbridge with lifts at Dunbar station, as part of the Scottish Government’s continued investment in the railway, is well underway with trains stopping at the platform from 15th December 2019 and the official opening on 17th December 2019.  There is still some work to be done around the platform.

More information, a link to Network Rail's web page and a link to RAGES photographic record of the construction can be found at our Dunbar page.

The latest programme of work at Dunbar can be seen in Network Rail's letter at this link.

The new footbridge was put in place on the night shift of 3rd/4th November.  A 500 tonne crane was used to install the footbridge which is 26m long weighing approximately 20 tonnes.

The Network Rail video of the crane lift can be seen at this link.

The first passenger train to arrive at the new platform was the LNER Newcastle to Edinburgh service (1S03) on Sunday 15 December 2019 to depart 10:04 hrs.

Click here for a video of its arrival at platform 2 - 14 minutes late!

There was a celebratory event to mark the completion and opening of the new platform at Dunbar on 17th December 2019.  RAGES was invited to this.

Latest Campaign News

RAGES attended the local rail meeting on 18th January 2019 hosted by East Lothian Council when ScotRail's Special Projects Manager, Gordon MacLeod was present.

RAGES was encouraged by his assurances regarding the plans to re-open East Linton and Reston stations at the earliest opportunities.

On 24th January 2019, RAGES attended a meeting with the Minister for Transport, Michael Matheson, MSP.

Among the topics raised were: overcrowding and cancelled trains on the North Berwick service; progress on the re-oening of East Linton and Reston stations.

Fuller details on both meetings will be in the Spring 2019 issue of The Rages Rag.

To provide feedback, on 13 March 2019 RAGES, met with the consultants, Peter Brett Associates appointed by East Lothian Council to develop the Scottish Transport Appraisal Group (STAG) Case for Change, primarily concerning the corridor through the west of the county, broadly following the A1 and the East Coast Main Line (ECML) from Haddington westwards, where the majority of journeys converge on the transport network.

A full report can be read at this link.

In a member’s debate at the Scottish Parliament at the end of May, Paul Wheelhouse MSP said this in closing the debate.

"On Reston and East Linton, I assure Rachael Hamilton that the commitment made by the Scottish ministers to the delivery of Reston and East Linton stations as early as practicable within control period 6 is unwavering.  Detailed design and timetable analysis is on-going.  Until both are completed, no firm date for construction or opening can be given.  Rachael Hamilton might know that the East Coast Line Capacity Study is due to be published soon; it will inform the construction window that can be used for development of the stations."

In response to the RAGES e-mail of May 2019 to the Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity, the reply came on 27 June 2019 from Mr Lindsay Williamson, Communications and Correspondence Officer, Rail Projects and Technical Services of Transport Scotland:

"I have discussed the status of the planning application with Network Rail who are progressing the detailed design for East Linton Station. Network Rail and Transport Scotland officials have met with officials from East Lothian Council and Scottish Borders Council separately on several occasions to progress the detailed design for the new stations at East Linton and Reston. The land required for the new rail station at East Linton currently remains under the ownership of East Lothian Council. Negotiations in respect of the land required for Reston Station are progressing.

"Network Rail advise that until the detailed designs for each station are further advanced, a planning application for either station cannot be submitted as these detailed designs are required to support the planning applications."