Parliamentarians to hold public meeting on local rail concerns

Iain Gray MSP and Martin Whitfield MP are holding a public meeting to provide a further opportunity for rail users to highlight ongoing problems with the service on the North Berwick Line.

The local parliamentarians have decided to hold the meeting following continued widespread frustration and complaints about the issues that have dogged the line, such as serious overcrowding, frequent delays and cancellations, and problems with ticketing, including broken ticket machines.

The meeting will take place on Thursday 3rd May at Prestonpans Town Hall starting at 7pm. The ScotRail Alliance has been invited to send a representative to help answer questions from those who attend the meeting.

Iain Gray MSP said:

I have spent years campaigning for the kind of safe, regular and reliable rail services that people in East Lothian need. Sadly, despite various promises and warm words from successive SNP Government Rail Ministers and ScotRail bosses, little progress has been made.

Indeed, I continue to receive a regular flow of complaints from local rail users about their poor experience on the North Berwick Line. Frequent overcrowding, sometimes to the point where passengers have felt unsafe, delays and cancellations cause huge frustration to those using the line.

This is unacceptable and must change. Martin and I intend to use this public meeting to reiterate the strength of feeling on the issue and relaunch our local #RailChange campaign for improvements in local services.”

Martin Whitfield MP said:

Last year I helped to organise Prestonpans’ community council’s public meeting on local rail services. That event was well attended and provided an opportunity for local rail users to make their feelings known and quiz ScotRail about the numerous problems they were experiencing.

Some commitments were made at that meeting around delivering improvements on the North Berwick Line. However, I think it’s clear to anyone who uses services on the line that very little has changed over the last 12 months.

This ongoing misery for commuters in East Lothian is simply not good enough. We need to see real action from all partners to remedy the problems and deliver a reliable service for local rail users. This meeting will provide another opportunity to push for that change.”

RAGES: Write to your MSP

This note was circulated at the RAGES - Rail Action Group East of Scotland AGM. 

Reston and East Linton stations are within our grasp and we need you to keep up the pressure on your MSP and ultimately the Transport Minister, otherwise we face another 20 years of closed stations and no hope of trains ever returning to Berwickshire and East Lothian. 

Below is a style of Email or Letter for your MSP. Please send this to at least one of your elected representatives - or to all of them - so that they know that the people of Berwickshire and East Lothian are really in favour of our Stations returning.
-------------------------------------------------Suggested Email to South of Scotland MSPs:
Rachael.Hamilton.msp@parliament.scot; Iain.Gray.msp@parliament.scot; Joan.McAlpine.msp@parliament.scot; Emma.Harper.msp@parliament.scot; Paul.Wheelhouse.msp@parliament.scot; Brian.Whittle.msp@parliament.scot; Claudia.Beamish.msp@parliament.scot; Colin.Smyth.msp@parliament.scot; John.Lamont.msp@parliament.scot 

Dear (MSP Name) I am writing to ask you to lobby the Transport Minister, Humza Yousaf, to go ahead with the re-opening of our stations at Reston in Berwickshire and East Linton in East Lothian, where we have been campaigning for almost 20 years. A good business case has been made for both stations and both Scottish Borders Council and East Lothian Council are very supportive. We now need the Minister to prioritise these re-openings to enable our rural areas to grow and to benefit from all the advantages that a rail link brings. More information can be found at http://www.rages.org.uk/. Please help us overcome this final hurdle to get our stations Back on Track. (Your Name and Address)..................................................................................................... ......................................................................................................................................

RAGES OPEN MEETING AT PRESTONPANS

RAGES has organised an open meeting and invited Phil Verster, Managing Director of ScotRail Alliance, to discuss the current and future operation of the Edinburgh to North Berwick and Dunbar service and the future service to Berwick.  The meeting will be held in Prestonpans Town Hall on 25th July 2016 at 19:00 until 21:00.

All members are invited to attend.  There will be set questions compiled by the committee, but there should be ample time for questions from the floor.

Members can also invite friends, neighbours or fellow travellers who have an interest in this service.  Entry is free, but there will be the opportunity for non-members to join RAGES at the usual subscription of £4 per annum!

The Town Hall address is: New Street, PRESTONPANS, EH32 9JW.  New Street is off the High Street (B1348)

RAGES hopes to see you there.

Russell Darling

Rail Action Group, East of Scotland
www.rages.org.uk

Your Railway, Your Say

Any commuters on the North Berwick to Edinburgh peak time trains can attest to the overcrowding and unreliability of the ticket machines.

ScotRail has launched The Platform – an online panel to give you a chance to have your say on how Scotland’s railway is run.

To register, you will need to complete a few short questions about yourself and how you currently get out and about. Once you have registered you can then take part in your first survey!

You might also be interested in joining rail pressure group RAGES, which has as one its aims “To improve the rail service between Edinburgh, Dunbar and Berwick upon Tweed.”.  Membership is only £4 and you will be kept up to date with the latest rail developments.