RAGES RAGES ON
The letter columns of the Berwickshire continue to simmer over the vexed question of the reopening of Reston Station. Below is the latest volley:Sanderson Jr, (June 7 and May 24) in his attack on RAGES, displays breathtaking arrogance, for he lacks both knowledge of the Reston project or, it seems, empathy with the people of east Berwickshire.
The reintroduction of local services for a population of 20,000 in Berwickshire is vital to allow access to services, further and higher education and employment opportunities and, let us not forget, family and friends, on an equitable basis to our counterparts across Scotland. Tourism should also be a winner.
I have not seen the STAG appraisal commissioned by the council, but census data reveals east Berwickshire ward has a similar average distance to place of work or study (23 miles) as North Berwick Coastal ward and Dunbar and East Linton.
We also have a similar number of people in employment or studying (all circa 5,000). However, while North Berwick (7.4%) and Dunbar/East Linton (5.7%) have good utilisation rates for trains as the main means of travel, in east Berwickshire it is just 2.1%, with just 99 using trains daily, as of 2001.
Matching the North Berwick figure would raise us to circa 350 or matching Dunbar would mean 275 passengers per day. A lot has changed since then and with new housing I think these figures could be surpassed.
Given the Edinburgh Airport Rail Link (£600 million and rising), and the £500 million tram project that effectively only replaces one of the best bus routes in the city, will the people of Edinburgh fund these new services themselves?
If not, why then should taxpayers in our community help fund Edinburgh's grandiose projects, while denying us a basic service on a line that already traverses our beautiful landscape without a single station?
Undoing the damage done here by Beeching would cost less than 0.5% of the capital cost of Edinburgh's status projects and help relieve congestion.
SNP canvass returns from east Berwickshire (population 10,300) were enlightening. We gathered hard data from the Eyemouth area (population 3,000), that indicates that 16% of voters responding stated that they would be regular users of a new service, and 56% stated they would be occasional users. In addition, almost 16% supported the project even if they would not use it themselves. In fact, of those responding, only 12% did not support the Reston proposals.
We in the Berwickshire SNP back the aims of RAGES and will gather further data from voters in the area to build a robust evidence for our use in lobbying our colleagues in the Scottish Government.
I humbly wonder what would actually happen if Reston station were to reopen? Would all 20,000 Berwickshirers rush to catch the 8.05 from Reston-all of 5 minutes by train (and 15 minutes by road) from Berwick-thus making that village-twinned with Mecca (where, remember, you can't get a ham sandwich-Reston I mean, not sure about Mecca)the hub of Eastern Berwickshire? I suspect that they would continue to do what they have done since Dr Beeching wielded his big axe in the 1950s.And go to Berwick.From Hutton I can get to Berwick quicker than to Reston and this would apply to many other settlements in Berwickshire.
But here is the nub.
The trouble for Berwickshire SNP is that Berwick upon Tweed is in England.
They want a station in Scotland. And being Berwickshire SNP. In Berwickshire. No matter if it makes bad sense and is a gross waste of taxpayers money.
But it could be visionary forward thinking. Come THE DAY
that Bravehearts get their independent republic Reston International Station will come into its own: Passport and Immigration control going north and exit stamps going south. Now, a conundrum. Which platform will be more crowded? The Up
Labels: Independent Scotland, RAGES, SNP