Feasibility Study: Enhanced Rail Services between Edinburgh and Newcastle

Appendix A: Consultation Responses

1 Introduction

1.1 This Appendix documents the main responses received from the consultation exercise. The Appendix is divided into three sections:

  • Responses from stakeholders;
  • Responses from individuals;
  • Emerging common themes.

1.2 Individuals have not been named in association with comments to preserve anonymity.

2 Stakeholder Responses

2.1 As part of the consultation main stakeholders were advised of the study and given the opportunity to provide input to the stage of generating options for enhanced train services in the corridor. Representatives from the following organisations were invited to comment:

Table A1 Stakeholders invited to comment
Department for Transport Nexus One NorthEast Regional Tourism Team
Office of Rail Regulation Government Office for the North East Lothian NHS Board
Scottish Borders Council Visit Scotland North East Strategic Health Authority
Scottish Enterprise One North East Community Action Northumberland
North East Chambers of Commerce Northern Rail Adapt North East
Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce Newcastle City Council Scotland National Rural Network website
CBI Scotland Track Access Manager SUSTRANS Scotland
CBI North East Rail Freight Group SUSTRANS
SEStran Network Rail Visit Scotland
City of Edinburgh Council ATOC Ltd One NorthEast Regional Tourism Team
East Lothian Council Railfuture North East Gateshead Council
Public Transport Policy Officer Railfuture Scotland Confederation of Passenger Transport - Northern
Newcastle City Council Passenger Focus Sunderland Council
North Tyneside Council Confederation of Passenger Transport - Scotland South Tyneside Council
Alnmouth Rail User Group RAGES Relevant Community Groups

2.2 Responses were received from 21 organisations / elected representatives and their comments are summarised below.

East Lothian Council

2.3 East Lothian Council have set out their views of the enhanced rail services between Edinburgh and Newcastle and raise the following issues:

  • Council has been lobbying for a number of years for a regular local service between Edinburgh and Dunbar and possibly reopening East Linton to complement the infrequent Inter City East Coast (ICEC) service;
  • Council's preferred option is an hourly service between Dunbar and Edinburgh from early morning to late at night calling at some or all intermediate stations in East Lothian complementing the long distance ICEC and Cross Country services;
  • Recommend a local rail service from Dunbar to Musselburgh to allow for direct public transport access from Dunbar to Queen Margaret University;
  • East Lothian Council highlight the proposed housing developments in the region amounting to 8,500 homes;
  • The council has a number of other aspirations for rail projects but recognise that the following proposals have implications on the capacity of the ECML:
  • − Half hourly local service between Edinburgh and Drem with alternate trains terminating at North Berwick and Dunbar;
  • − Provision of a rail connection to the proposed new settlement at Blindwells (1,600 houses with potential for future expansion);
  • − Provision of more cross-city services to enable East Lothian residents to access the employment centres on the west side of the city and further afield without having to change trains;
  • − Later departures from Edinburgh in the evening, similar to North Berwick.
  • Welcomes the proposed 'Eureka' timetable with its more regular arrival and departure pattern to Edinburgh;
  • Reiterates the recommendation of the ECML Route Utilisation Strategy for provision of an additional northbound platform at Dunbar station and the benefit it would have in speeding up existing ECML services and assist the case for a local service;
  • Council supports the principle of a Parkway station at Musselburgh to provide an alternative access to Edinburgh. A site has been identified and is safeguarded in the East Lothian Local Plan 2008.

City of Edinburgh Council

2.4 The City of Edinburgh Council raised the following issues and proposals for the enhanced rail service between Edinburgh and Newcastle:

  • City of Edinburgh Council priorities are:
  • − To improve journey times on long-distance services (including to Berwick); and
  • − To provide a good local service between Edinburgh and the medium-sized towns east and south on the ECML. Dunbar, in particular is highlighted.
  • Providing a good local service would allow for a local service to replace some long distance calls;
  • Half hourly off peak North Berwick service should be protected; and
  • Not convinced of the case for establishing new stations and suggest the study should carefully compare the benefits of a semi-fast local service calling at a wider range of existing stations as opposed to new stations.

Northumberland County Council

2.5 Northumberland County Council made the following comments regarding the analysis of the impact of reducing the number of calls made by long distance high speed trains at smaller stations:

  • Connectivity between stations within Northumberland is poor;
  • An electric semi-fast service serving principal stations in Northumberland would improve connectivity between stations, making return journeys between Morpeth, Alnmouth, and Berwick feasible yet they also consider there is still a case for retaining certain key business trains from Northumberland stations (See below);
  • Morpeth, Alnmouth and Berwick, have key business trains in the early morning and evening to and from London. If customers for these trains were obliged to change trains in Newcastle, this could encourage people to drive to Newcastle from Northumberland or even consider the option of flying. It is essential that any semi-fast electric service operating between Newcastle and Edinburgh provides early morning and late night arrivals and departures;
  • Late night services to Northumberland stations are a particular area requiring improvement; and
  • The section of the East Coast Main Line between Newcastle and Edinburgh does not have so many high speed sections as the line south of Newcastle. However the superior acceleration of electric multiple units would be more valuable on this section of route, thus the slower top speed of such trains compared with high speed traction may be less of a disadvantage in terms of journey times. This is very relevant for stations that may be substituting certain high speed links for a semi-fast electric service. Further analysis of potential journey times may be derisible in this particular case.

2.6 Regarding the options for displacing some local services north of Newcastle Northumberland County Council raised the following concern:

  • At present there is an hourly local service between Morpeth and Newcastle stopping at Cramlington. The replacement of these services by high quality electric trains would reduce journey times, improve line capacity, and attract new customers to rail. It would be essential to maintain stops at Cramlington which is a growing market. However certain direct links to the Metro Centre and beyond would be lost. An analysis of through traffic from stations north of Newcastle to the Metro Centre would be advisable.

2.7 Regarding station improvements on the East Coast Mainline Northumberland County Council raised the following concerns:

  • Increasing demand for rail in Northumberland is demonstrated by the following improvements along the East Coast Main Line. These are as follows:
  • − Construction of a new 68 space car park adjacent to the northbound platform at Alnmouth station, with level access.
  • − Development of new bus/rail interchange facilities at Morpeth station, new traffic signals at the station approach to ease access to the station and construction of an additional 92 car parking spaces.
  • − Doubling the size of the car park at Cramlington station to 100 spaces.
  • − Supporting a scoping study by Network Rail in partnership with the Railway Heritage Trust into the possibilities of constructing a new car park adjacent to the northbound platform at Berwick station.

Scottish Borders Council

2.8 Scottish Borders Council states that along with East Lothian Council and RAGES it supports the re-introduction of rail station at Reston as it feels it will reinvigorate both Reston and the whole of Berwickshire and is widely supported by Local Members, Community Councils and the majority of the population. While recognising the difficulty in balancing an improved local service with maintaining the long distance rail market Scottish Borders Council provides key points in support of a new rail station facility at Reston:

  • Land required for the new facility is already allocated in the Scottish Borders Council Development Plan;
  • Design requirements for a new station including track gradient, track cant and a suitable length of track for a station facility to be sited appear to be satisfied;
  • Adequate parking close to the site could be provided to allow for a park and ride facility;
  • SESplan Main Issues report, Scottish Borders Structure Plan and Local Plan highlight the need for improving public transport links;
  • Significant housing development is allocated in the Scottish Borders Development Plans including within Reston which could impact on the patronage figures for a Reston station in the 2005 STAG 1. Recommend that these figures are reviewed; and
  • Scottish Borders Council feels that future development at Reston is constrained by a lack of infrastructure including rail connectivity.

Cross Country Trains

2.9 Cross Country operate services between Newcastle and Edinburgh (approximately hourly, forming part of the Edinburgh-Plymouth service group) and are interested in any long-term developments on this route and the potential impacts upon LDHS services. Cross Country raised the following concerns:

  • Key priority for Cross Country on the ECML is to reduce journey times through timetable improvements and minor infrastructure enhancements, and in the longer term by reviewing the stopping patterns the services make at smaller stations; and
  • Believe that the study needs to identify the economic value of removing smaller station calls from some LDHS services as a standalone option. They recognise this could be politically sensitive but believe it is important to firstly identify as a discrete option the economic benefits (BCR) that removing those services would bring, before then assessing the business case for adding additional services.


2.9.1 Nexus is the Tyne and Wear Passenger Transport Executive and although it does not have any direct influence over train services within Northumberland it supports any proposals which improve the frequency and calling patterns at stations within Northumberland. Nexus raised the following concerns to be taken into consideration in the consultation process:

  • Nexus is opposed to any deterioration in the quantity of existing local services operating north of Newcastle as a result of any proposals to amend longer-distance services operating to and from Scotland;
  • Concerned that Cramlington station does not have platforms long enough to accommodate main-line trains, other than via the use of Selective Door Opening. The existing service should not to be sacrificed for this reason; and
  • In favour of service improvements between Scotland and North East England, but not at the cost of a minimum hourly service between Morpeth and Newcastle, calling at Cramlington.

Northern Rail

2.10 Northern Rail operates local and inter-urban services in the North and North East of England and raised the following concerns:

  • A similar question was tackled in the East Coast MainLine Route Utilisation Strategy. The option of Edinburgh - Newcastle stopping services had a worse BCR than Network Rail and TFS's preferred option of alternating half-hourly Edinburgh - North Berwick/Dunbar (or Berwick OT);
  • If Newcastle - Morpeth/Chathill were absorbed by the proposed electric stoppers, that would break the current through journeys to Metrocentre for North East local passengers. It would then need to be decided how this fits with ambitions to reinstate passenger services on the Blythe & Tyne route - B&T to Metrocentre.

John Lamont MSP

2.11 John Lamont is the MSP for the Roxburgh and Berwickshire constituency and puts forward the following issues and proposals:

  • Supportive of RAGES' campaign to open Reston station for the following reasons:
  • − Reston is an ideal geographic position to attract the greatest patronage in Eastern Berwickshire as it is halfway along the track from Berwick-upon-Tweed to Dunbar;
  • − Unlimited availability of land for parking;
  • − Since the STAG 1 showing Reston as having a daily patronage of 200 there has been the development of 680 households in the area and permission granted for a further 80; and
  • − Great desire among the East Berwickshire community for the reopening.

Councillor Michael Cook - Scottish Borders Council

2.12 Michael Cook is one of three Scottish Borders's councillors for East Berwickshire and put forward the following views:

  • Belief that local people are strongly supportive of the development of a new station at Reston to give them access to a more efficient, environmentally friendly and safer mode of transport;
  • Concern that there could be a tendency to under-predict patronage figures and highlights the popularity of the East Coast 'Edinburgh Festival Trains' at weekends this year as an example. Believes this is significant, particularly for Reston, in that overly-cautious patronage estimates could adversely impact on the cost benefit analysis part of this study. The 2005 STAG 1 showed Reston as having a daily patronage of 200. Since that study was conducted, new houses have been erected in Eyemouth, in Chirnside, and in Duns, with permission given for many more, including in Reston itself.
  • The availability of extensive areas of land for parking at Reston contrasts with the parking restraints of Dunbar and Berwick-upon-Tweed

Councillor James A Fullarton - Scottish Borders Council

2.13 James A Fullarton is Councillor for Chirnside and District and raises the following issues:

  • In East Berwickshire residents have to travel to Dunbar or Berwick-upon-Tweed to travel to Edinburgh and due to the fare structure favouring Dunbar residents often choose to drive direct to Edinburgh instead;
  • Depopulation of Berwickshire appears to have stopped and a potential market exists for reconnected services to Berwickshire towns. Further emphasised by the new high schools at Duns and Eyemouth attracting young families who will in the future have to travel to Edinburgh or Newcastle for further education;
  • Cost of private motoring is rising and the Scottish Borders is an area of low wage and public transport links are required;
  • Better public transport would open up the job markets in Newcastle and Edinburgh;
  • Ageing population have a role to play in increasing patronage;
  • In the long term proposes using the west coast for a fast train service from London to Edinburgh and Glasgow would offer benefits for a more local service; and
  • Local services could kick start the east coast economy.

Office of Rail Regulation

2.14 The Office of Rail Regulation is the independent regulator with responsibility for overseeing the fair and efficient allocation of capacity and as such feels it is inappropriate to comment. The ORR has identified appropriate stakeholders to contact including:

  • Network Rail (who can advise on available capacity and any performance implications for existing services);
  • Department for Transport;
  • All operators and prospective operators using ECML (both passenger and freight);
  • Funders of local services using ECML; and
  • Passenger representative bodies.

2.15 As well as developing service options based on the gaps and options in the February 2008 ECML RUS consideration should also be given to the 2016 Capacity review for the ECML and Network Rail's Freight Route Utilisation Strategy.

Department for Transport (DfT)

2.16 Department for Transport is the franchising authority for long distance passenger services operating over the Newcastle - Edinburgh route and also for the local services between Newcastle and Morpeth/Chathill. The DfT were involved in the changes to the ECML timetable to encourage growth and meet stakeholder aspirations by increasing service frequency, reducing journey times and adopting a more regular calling pattern.

2.17 The new timetable will provide the following level of service:

  • Dunbar - Two hourly service to/from Edinburgh with extra calls at peak times;
  • Berwick - Hourly fast East Coast service to/from London and two hourly Cross Country service, normally providing through trains to/from Glasgow;
  • Alnmouth - Broadly hourly service provided alternately by East Coast and Cross Country; and
  • Morpeth - a small increase in the number of trains calling, with retention of key through journey opportunities to/from London.

2.18 The DfT is currently carrying out a consultation exercise on future policy for franchising of rail services. Development of the specification for the new franchise will include consideration of options for future service changes north of Newcastle including examining the business case for increasing the level of weekday East Coast trains between King's Cross and Edinburgh to two per hour, either by extension of the remaining London - Newcastle services or by providing further fast services to compete directly with domestic air travel.

2.19 The DfT raised the following concerns relating to a new local service between Edinburgh and Newcastle:

  • There will be an on-going requirement for fast passenger train paths between Newcastle and Edinburgh and to run freight trains via this route therefore increasing pressure on route capacity;
  • A large part of the travel market to/from Berwick, Alnmouth and Morpeth is to stations south of Newcastle and there are also established flows to/from various stations in Scotland. Would not want to reduce the number of calls in long distance trains at Berwick, Alnmouth and Morpeth much below the level being provided from May 2011, even if extra local services were available;
  • Network Rail examined options for extra local services in its Route Utilisation Strategy, published in February 2008, and concluded that the service options tested would be poor value for money and would not earn sufficient revenue to cover their direct operating costs;
  • If Transport Scotland decides to fund extra services, there is likely to be an impact on the revenue earned by the current services on the route. The DfT would need to be satisfied that there would be no extra financial burden on the DfT through current franchises and that longer term franchise value would be protected; and
  • The DfT would be interested in understanding if there is any scope for synergy between any new services and the current Newcastle - Morpeth / Chathill local services, which might allow an element of subsidy to be re-directed.

One North East

2.20 One North East is the Regional Development Agency (RDA) covering North East England which aims to transform the English regions through sustainable economic development. One North East raised the following concerns in relation to enhanced rail services:

  • Essential that semi-fast services between Newcastle and Edinburgh does not result in diminished services for the stations in Northumberland or a reduction in their connectivity with both Newcastle and Edinburgh or elsewhere;
  • Concern over the ongoing discussions over the Cross Country timetable. These services are viewed as critically important to Northumberland; and
  • Take into account the existing and planned station facilities as well as rolling stock availability.

Alnmouth Rail User Group (ARUG)

2.21 The Alnmouth Rail User Group (ARUG) is an organisation set up in 2003 to help improve rail services in Northumberland. ARUG propose the following requirements for consideration:

  • A fast service to Newcastle and Edinburgh every 2 hours (any operator);
  • A semi-fast service to Newcastle and Edinburgh every 2 hours (any operator) - serving Morpeth, Alnmouth, Berwick, Dunbar;
  • Above two patterns arranged to provide as near to an hourly service north and south as possible;
  • A morning peak all local stations service from Chathill to Newcastle and evening peak return (currently operated by Northern);
  • Consideration also be given to extending the semi-fast service to Glasgow via ScotRail electrified routes; and
  • Peak hour patterns supplemented as required by any operator to at least maintain and preferably improve the current and proposed May 2011 peak hour services.

2.22 Possible solutions from ARUG include:

  • East Coast (or subsequent operator) provide the fast service as per proposed May 2011 timetable;
  • The semi-fast service is either provided by ScotRail throughout; or ScotRail operating to Berwick with Cross Country running fast from Edinburgh to Berwick and then taking on the Alnmouth and Morpeth stops, or a combination of both options throughout the day. The latter would be preferable in order to maintain a direct service from Northumberland stations to Birmingham and beyond.
  • The Northern service could also be covered by the first southbound semi-fast service from Edinburgh and evening return - thus releasing a train to Northern for other services.

Rail Action Group, East of Scotland (RAGES)

2.23 The Rail Action Group, East of Scotland (RAGES) is an action group seeking to improve rail services in the East of Scotland area including Dunbar, East Linton and Reston. RAGES representatives attended the consultation presentation and contributed further observations to be taken into consideration including the following:

  • ScotRail have reported the following:
  • − There are currently five 322s to be replaced by four 380s next year all 4-car sets;
  • − There are three 'spare' 380s to be available for additional options;
  • RAGES understand that First ScotRail indicated that any extra Dunbar services to be created in the short term would be with the existing 322s and then after March 2011 by the 380s and that unlike the 322s, the 380s would be shared diagram-wise with the Ayrshire/Inverclyde services. This has raised the concern about sufficient stock to supply any new services recommended in the study.

2.24 RAGES have subsequently held a public meeting to discuss the study and raised the following points:

  • Unanimous support for re-opening Reston station;
  • There should be a regular interval local service throughout the day, with early morning and late evening trains catering for travellers going both north to Edinburgh and south to Berwick and Newcastle from Reston. Co-ordination of time tables at Berwick would be essential to provide for southbound passengers. Possibly an off-peak frequency of two hours would be sufficient, but trains should run more often than this in peak periods. A last departure from Edinburgh at about 2300 would be suitable, and also a late departure from Newcastle and a Sunday service should be offered;
  • It would be desirable to have some long distance trains stopping at Reston also, to allow connections to London, York and possibly Glasgow. The success of an increased number of calls at Alnmouth (of similar size and catchment to Reston) was cited as proof that these can attract passengers to rail;
  • Introduce a good level of connecting bus services to serve communities such as Eyemouth, Duns, Coldingham, St Abbs, Houndwood, Ayton, Chirnside etc. There should also be taxis available. There should be adequate car parking space at Reston station, free, secure storage for cycles, adequate shelters and a car share database to attract regular passengers and limit the number of cars parking at the station;
  • As a re-opened station would attract more traffic into Reston, it would be necessary to review the layout at the junction with the A1 road and possibly upgrade it; and
  • Fares on the trains calling at Reston should be reasonable.

2.25 The benefits associated with reopening the station would be:

  • Would be possible for students at Edinburgh and commuters to travel daily by train which would attract new residents to the area;
  • Reduce the need for two cars per family;
  • Reduction in car traffic and pollution;
  • Reduce parking pressure in Dunbar; and
  • There could be an increase in inward investment in east Berwickshire, in particular tourism.


2.26 Railfuture northeast is an independent organisation campaigning for better rail services for both passengers and freight in the North East region. Railfuture's contribution to the consultation process includes the following points and concerns:

  • Cross Country services are critically important to the North East region and there is concern that no agreement has been reached by DfT with CrossCountry for the change from East Coast to CrossCountry for the North East to Edinburgh and Glasgow service;
  • Concerning the May 2011 ECML timetable it is important to:
  • − Optimise the use of the mainline services between Edinburgh and Newcastle to provide direct links between the main intermediate stations and stations north to Edinburgh and Glasgow and south both on the main line to London and across the country to Leeds, Sheffield, Birmingham and beyond; and
  • − Optimise the calling patterns of the mainline services to provide internal connectivity within Northumberland and SE Scotland.
  • Long distance travellers have a strong preference for through trains. Changing trains in Newcastle for shorter journeys would also result in a disproportionate extension to the journey time for passengers making journeys of intermediate length. As a result railfuture believes it is a requirement to ensure the following:
  • − The introduction of a semi-fast service does not result in a degradation of the direct links but does improve the connectivity within Northumberland and the access to both Edinburgh and Newcastle from the main stations concerned; and
  • − The final timetable makes good provision for early, late and weekend journeys and for commuter journeys from Northumberland stations to both Edinburgh and Newcastle.
  • To include Cramlington station alongside the study of Berwick, Alnmouth and Morpeth. Cramlington from both population and functional perspectives should have either direct links to the Intercity network or a much improved local service to Newcastle but recognises that platform length at Cramlington is a constraint for mainline trains. It may be that improved links could be obtained between stations in Northumberland and those in Scotland (and vice versa) by providing good connections at Berwick.

2.27 Railfuture are aware of the benefits of the integration of a semi-fast service with the current local service but has the following concerns related to the displacement of the local services:

  • The morning and evening services to Chathill (potentially Belford) from Newcastle;
  • The current extension of the Morpeth trains from Newcastle to the Gateshead MetroCentre, and occasionally Hexham;
  • The services provided at Manors station, a valuable access point for Newcastle shopping, Newcastle and Northumbria Universities, the surrounding office accommodation and the Tyne & Wear Metro Wallsend line;
  • Take into consideration any existing station facilities and planned enhancements when developing the enhanced timetable. Such facilities would include the following:
  • − Provision for car parking, and step-free access are currently planned or in progress at Berwick, Alnmouth, Morpeth and Cramlington;
  • − The construction of a platform at Belford to exploit the turn-back of the Newcastle Chathill services is at an advanced state of planning;
  • − A second platform at Dunbar is recognised as necessary in the ECML RUS and may be essential to release the necessary line capacity in that area; and
  • − Platform capacity at Newcastle is scarce and extra provision would be expensive but imaginative solutions for turn-back time may be available using the existing tracks and facilities.
  • The rolling stock to be used may determine some aspects of the service. Four-car, 100mph electric units obtained new or by cascade would have obvious service quality and environmental attractions, the number of units required depending on the frequency of service proposed. However, electric stock cannot currently run through to the Gateshead MetroCentre. In the medium term, some rebalancing of such a loss of service may be provided by the proposed passenger services from the Ashington, Blyth and Tyne network (currently freight only).

South East Northumberland Rail User Group (SENRUG)

2.28 SENRUG is an organisation set up to campaign for better rail services in South East Northumberland and to represent the interests of current rail users and those who would use the train if only those services and facilities were better. SENRUG's concerns relating to the Fast (Inter City) service are as follows:

  • Should be an appropriate service that links together the key Northumberland regional stations (that is, from south to north: Morpeth, Alnmouth, Berwick) and Dunbar. Additionally, the current East Coast services that do stop at Morpeth are frustratingly close to the Cross Country ones (and vice versa) then followed by long gaps through large sections of the day;
  • The level of current inter-city services at Morpeth is poor. Would like to see one inter-city type service in each direction, every two hours;
  • SENRUG recognise that it is not essential for all services to continue south of Newcastle to London or Birmingham. A semi-fast service between Edinburgh and Newcastle would go a long way to meeting their aspirations; and
  • Suggest investigating the possibility of a TPE and ScotRail services interconnected by a service through Northumberland to provide a Morpeth to York direct route.

2.29 Regarding a slow service SENRUG have the following comments:

  • Propose that a market could be established for an all stations stopping service between Newcastle and Berwick with the intermediate stations at Belford and Beal re-opened. A stopping service would open up the county for leisure and tourism in Belford and Beal:
  • − Propose contacting First in Cornwall to establish a link between rail passenger numbers and a developed tourism industry; and
  • − Highlight the proposals for a major housing and leisure development (Blue Sky) at Stobswood (Widdrington station). Whilst now on hold due to the current economic downturn, lack of transport access to Stobswood was earlier cited as an area of concern about the proposals. This could be addressed by a reasonable train service to Widdrington Station.
  • A stopping service from Berwick or further north to Newcastle is likely to be an extension (rather than additional to) the current Morpeth - Newcastle stopping service. This route currently proceeds on beyond Newcastle to MetroCentre. If it were proposed a stopping service from Berwick or Edinburgh were to similarly link on to MetroCentre, this proposal would undoubtedly be of interest to MetroCentre management who wish to increase public transport access to their retail centre.

2.30 In summary SENRUG propose that the stopping service serves a greater number of communities, has the potential to be more responsive to local needs (such as school finish times) and make a greater contribution to the development of rural areas in the county, and tourism. But the stopping service is less likely to be viable unless Beal and Belford are re-opened. If there is no political will to do this, then the semi-fast using existing stations only is probably better. SENRUG would like to see comparative overall journey times for both a semi-fast and the stopping service.

2.31 SENRUG provided a copy of their Manifesto. The key points relative to this study include the following (points previously raised have been excluded):

  • Berwick Service throughout the day: The current single AM and single PM local service to Chathill should be extended to Berwick with additional trains throughout the day;
  • 2-hourly Inter-City Service: There should be an Inter-City service (either East Coast Main Line route or Cross Country route) stopping at Morpeth every 2 hours throughout the day in each direction;
  • Earlier morning London service: The current 0720 service does not arrive in London until 1040. A pre 1000 am arrival in required;
  • Evening service to London;
  • Later return train from London: The current 1730 from Kings Cross is too early for many business travellers and should be supplemented with a later train;
  • Better weekend service to / from London; and
  • Engineering Works: Use local rail services instead of bus substitution.

Abbey St Bathans, Bonkyl and Preston Community Council

2.32 The Chair of the Abbey St Bathans, Bonkyl and Preston Community Council stated that providing interim stations on the line between Berwick and Edinburgh (particularly Reston) is extremely important for the residents of Berwickshire as we do not have a station in this area, the nearest being either Dunbar or Berwick. The introduction of a new station would reduce the reliance on private transport and bring much needed investment into the Berwickshire area. Abbey St Bathans, Bonkyl and Preston Community Council proposed the following options:

  • Regular services during the day and a train later in the evening from Edinburgh and Newcastle. All services that stop at East Linton / Reston, should also stop at Berwick and Dunbar. Services should be timetabled with local bus services to ensure that opportunities to access the train service are maximised;
  • There is demand for a new station in the area to provide a reliable alternative to the bus services which currently serve the communities;
  • Regular services provided by both ScotRail and National Rail stopping at Reston and East Linton can / would provide the best outcomes and value for money; and
  • Currently Berwickshire residents access the rail network by driving to Dunbar or Berwick.

Chirnside Community Council

2.33 Secretary for the Chirnside Community Council proposed later trains from Edinburgh to Berwick on a Saturday to facilitate a night out in Edinburgh.

Dunbar Community Council

2.34 The Secretary of the Dunbar Community Council raised the main concerns for the Community Council being the lack of a late night service from Edinburgh to Dunbar on a Saturday night but iterates that this improvement should not be at the expense of the long distance trains to London.

Reston and Auchencrow Community Council

2.35 Mrs JJ McLean is a member of the Reston and Auchencrow Community Council and was asked to provide comment by Scottish Borders Council. Reston and Auchencrow Community Council provided background to the reopening of Reston including details of local support for the reopening of the railway at Reston (public meeting in 1999 and Petition (PE556) 2002/2003 with nearly 2000 signatories) and details of Stakeholder Reports, Feasibility Studies and Scott Wilson's STAG 1.

2.36 Reston and Auchencrow Community Council raised a number of benefits that opening Reston Station as a Park and Ride would bring including the following:

  • Tourism, although cycle storage, designated footpaths and cycleways essential
  • Reduction of emissions via car journeys;
  • Access to education, training and employment;
  • Access for the elderly;
  • Safe and secure area for pedestrians;
  • Social inclusion;
  • Improved journey times;
  • Improve accessibility ensuring public transport choice;
  • Connecting remote and disadvantaged communities; and
  • Regeneration of Eyemouth and new build of houses in the locality.

2.37 Reston and Auchencrow Community Council reviews the responses to Consultation on Rail Investment Priorities and highlights the following improvements to attract new customers:

  • Provide more parking at stations;
  • Better integration with other modes;
  • Any increase in speed should be accompanied by improvements to interchange services (rail and bus);
  • Speed is important but where long distance services have limited number of intermediate stops, customers want better connections to 'feeder' services;
  • Provide extra capacity;
  • Priority should be according to economic, social inclusion or environmental benefits;
  • Network should be enhanced to provide for all types of transport ie commuters, long-distance passengers and freight;
  • Construction of new public transport interchanges;
  • Economy should not be the sole focus for future investment, increased social inclusion, environmental benefits and improved accessibility are also considered to be as important;
  • Rail investment is lagging behind other modes of transport ie roads and domestic air; and
  • Provision of extra services on existing lines.

2.38 Mrs JJ McLean also highlights the duty of public bodies in relation to Part 4 of the Climate Change (Scotland) Act to reduce emissions and the steps towards this aim that the opening of Reston would make.

3 Individual responses

3.1 A number of individuals from the area affected by the Edinburgh to Newcastle rail service also contributed to the consultation process. This chapter provides a summary of those responses.

Response 1

  • Additional early morning service from Dunbar to Edinburgh to arrive before 9am. Later mid-week trains from Edinburgh to Dunbar to make it possible to go for a meal or film after work;
  • Better access to the station from the Old Spot Road and through the car park. It is a very short distance through the old goods yard and would not take much work to make the station accessible creating a large short cut from the existing route;
  • Steps from the footpath linking the football pitches with Countess Road up onto the platform would save a long round trip for people living in the estates around Lochend Woods; and
  • In general, supportive of the opening of a station at East Linton as part of a local Dunbar - Edinburgh service to improve service from Drem - Berwick to a standard similar to the North Berwick route.

Response 2

  • Reinstated East Linton rail station as part of the Dunbar local service. A survey was carried out by the Community Council about four years ago which showed huge support for the re-instatement of even a limited service and planning permission has just been granted for the building of 50 new houses which could add more potential users;
  • The new local service to Dunbar which started in May is welcome but there are not enough local stops in particular there is one afternoon train to Queen Margaret University, but no morning train;
  • Later services to Dunbar on all evenings, not just Fridays;
  • Introduction of local service between Edinburgh and Berwick because of the increasing number of commuters to East Lothian and Edinburgh living in Berwick; and
  • Support the reopening of Reston station for environmental reasons.

Response 3

  • Improved access for bikes and pedestrians;
  • Toucan crossing at top of Countess Road saves entering one way system and makes it more attractive to cycle;
  • Improved sheltered cycle parking and lockers;
  • Incentives to cycle/walk to station equivalent to free car parking for Season Ticket holders;
  • Alternative to season ticket for regular travellers (book of 10 tickets with discount);
  • Earlier service on Sunday morning;
  • Improved information about new services; and
  • Supports station at East Linton but uncertain about Reston (concerned about the potential).

Response 4

  • Supports Reston station;
  • There is community support for a station at Reston - over 3,000 signatures supporting it;
  • There is land available to build the station and for parking;
  • Reston is an ideal location between Berwick and Dunbar;
  • Would bring more work to the area; and
  • Would cut down on CO2 emissions.

Response 5

  • Regular services, particularly in the evening from Edinburgh to Dunbar for both work and social activities as well as Saturday mornings; and
  • Service is unreliable and there are examples of services being missed off of timetables which results in commuters losing faith in the service.

Response 6

  • Supports reopening of the Reston station; and
  • Land for parking is available at Reston.

Response 7

  • Supports reopening of the Reston station to provide a commuting service to Newcastle and Edinburgh to avoid having to drive to Berwick-upon-Tweed and reduce the environmental impact of driving.

Response 8

  • Supports reopening Reston station to benefit students studying in Edinburgh and Newcastle and those who commute for work; and
  • Would increase tourist activity in the area.

Response 9

  • Does not support more ScotRail services between Dunbar and Edinburgh, believes that the existing limited stop services should stop to provide an hourly service;
  • Additional services would add to environmental concerns; and
  • Uncertain about late night trains on Friday and Saturday, believes the services would be abused and result in anti-social behaviour.

Response 10

  • Supports reopening Reston station.

Response 11

  • Suggests the following improvements;
  • A later service than 0738 to alleviate crowds but still get to Edinburgh by 0900;
  • Later service at evenings and weekends for social activities;
  • Supports reopening East Linton and Reston for leisure purposes; and
  • With the QMU on the line between Dunbar and Edinburgh a stopping service at the university would make commuting for students possible.

Response 12

  • Support reopening Reston;
  • The eastern Borders been ignored and neglected in favour of the more affluent and densely populated central Borders;
  • The proposed development of Reston Auction Mart with its 112 dwelling houses set to double the population of the village, combined with the recent major housing developments in Eyemouth and Duns, are testimony to the need for this rail station;
  • Reston is well located in Eastern Borders for a station;
  • Unlimited free parking is available at Reston; and
  • Reopening station is vital for future success of the area.

Response 13

  • Supports reopening of Reston for environmental reasons and ease as parking in Berwick-upon-Tweed is particularly difficult; and
  • Proposes a bus service connecting the surrounding areas to the station.

Response 14

  • Supports reopening of Reston station as it would have a profound effect on the settlement and surrounding area.

4 Key themes

4.1 The following key themes were regularly raised by stakeholders:

Consideration of the options for displacing some of the local services operating north of Newcastle

  • One North East, Nexus, railfuture and DfT - essential that semi-fast services between Edinburgh and Newcastle does not result in diminished services for the stations north of Newcastle, both local and long distance; and
  • Northumberland County Council, railfuture and SENRUG - improve connectivity between Northumberland stations but not at the expense of long distance services.


  • Nexus - concerned Cramlington will be overlooked because the platforms aren't long enough;
  • Railfuture - include Cramlington station alongside Berwick, Alnmouth and Morpeth in the study due to its population and potential patronage but recognises that platform level would be a constraint; and
  • Northumberland County Council - maintain stops at Cramlington which is a growing market.

Concern over the current Cross Country timetable

  • One North East and Railfuture - Concerned that no agreement has been reached between DfT and Cross Country over the changes from East Coast to Cross Country for the North East to Edinburgh and Glasgow.

Take account of infrastructure improvements

  • Northumberland County Council - increasing demand for rail in Northumberland is demonstrated by a number of facility improvements; and
  • Railfuture and One North East - take into account any existing or planned station facilities when developing the enhanced timetable.


  • Councillor Michael Cook, John Lamont MSP, Scottish Borders Council, Abbey St Bathans, Bonkyl and Preston Community Council, RAGES, Auchencrow Community Council, Individuals - Local support for opening Reston station;
  • Councillor Michael Cook and Reston, John Lamont MSP, Individuals - Noted availability of land for park and ride facility;
  • Individuals - Reston is ideal location for station;
  • Individuals, RAGES - New station would reduce traffic on A1 and CO2;
  • Individuals and RAGES - Would bring more work and investment to the area; and
  • RAGES and Individuals - Propose a bus service to surrounding settlements.

Semi-fast service Newcastle to Edinburgh

  • ARUG - Every two hours serving Morpeth, Alnmouth, Berwick and Dunbar; and
  • Railfuture and Northumberland County Council - Early and late services from Northumberland stations to Edinburgh and Newcastle.

Fast Edinburgh to Newcastle service every two hours

  • ARUG and SENRUG.

Rolling stock constraints

  • Railfuture - rolling stock to be used may determine some aspects of the service; and
  • RAGES and One North East - concerned about stock availability for new services.


  • ARUG and railfuture - morning peak from Chathill to Newcastle and evening peak return.

2005 STAG 1

  • Councillor Michael Cook, Scottish Borders Council and John Lamont MSP - Concern that the 2005 STAG 1 under predicted patronage figures at Reston due to recent development.

Dunbar services

  • East Lothian Council - Hourly service between Dunbar and Edinburgh stopping at intermediate stations from early morning to late evening;
  • Dunbar Community Council, Individuals - Later evening service;
  • Individuals - Additional early morning service arriving in Edinburgh by 9am and at the weekends; and
  • Individuals - Improved service to QMU.

East Linton

  • Individuals - Supportive of reopening East Linton station.