Reston station is a £20m project
A village in Berwickshire is about to be re-introduced to the railway timetable, writes JULENA DRUMI
Nothing much of note happens in Reston, population 450, located 10 miles north of Berwick and, according to the community website, “just a few hundred yards from the A1”. Until now, one of the main talking points has been the installation of a play park and delays in getting a fence erected. As from next week it will be getting wider attention with the arrival of the first passenger trains for half a century.
Reston was once the location of a station and junction between the Berwickshire Railway and the East Coast Main Line (ECML). The branch line and Reston station closed in 1964, victims of the Beeching cuts. As from next week, and following a £20 million investment, Reston will once again appear in the railway timetable.
On Monday 23 May, the 6.16am TransPennine Express (TPE) service from Edinburgh will stop at Reston, the first passenger service to arrive in the village in more than 50 years, and already there have been more than 17,000 reservations. The station will also be served by LNER’s high speed Azuma services on the ECML.
A study in 2013 recommended the reinstatement of a station at Reston and construction began in March last year. Commuters will be served by a 70-space park and ride facility and more than 20 electric vehicle charging stations.
Matthew Golton, managing director at TransPennine Express, said: “We are honoured that our 6.16am service from Edinburgh will be the first service to stop at Reston Station in more than 50 years and we’re delighted that this service, introduced in December, has boosted connectivity across communities in the Scottish Borders and Northumberland.
“It’s fantastic to see that hundreds of customers have already bought advanced tickets to travel from Reston Station and we can’t wait to welcome them on-board so they can experience travelling on our modern Nova trains.”
The new TPE services operate in each direction seven times per day between Edinburgh – Berwick-upon-Tweed (calling at Dunbar and, as from Monday, Reston) and five times per day between Edinburgh – Newcastle (calling at Dunbar, Berwick-upon-Tweed, Alnmouth, Morpeth and as of Monday, Reston, with limited calls at Cramlington).
Passenger volumes on these services grew by 50% in the past four months and passenger numbers are now at 79% of pre-pandemic levels.
David Horne, managing director at LNER, said the arrival of its services “will transform travel for residents and generate further economic opportunities for the area.”
Reston is the latest in a programme of reopening stations and re-connecting communities which lost rail services in the 1960s. Scottish Transport Minister Jenny Gilruth said the programme would boost local economies and help deliver on net zero targets.
“This government has invested record levels to improve connectivity and since 2009, we have reconnected 14 communities to the rail network,” she said. “Communities in and around Reston will undoubtedly look forward to the benefits that will be delivered by the return of rail services for the first time in more than half a century.
“Efficient and effective rail services, which encourage people to choose to travel locally and further afield by train, for work, training, education, leisure and social activities, are vital to Scotland’s future.”