After a break of more than half a century, people living in the East Berwickshire region were reconnected by rail once again.
They were able to use the TransPennine Express (TPE) service starting 6.16am this morning from the newly constructed Reston station. It was the first passenger service in this Scottish Borders area since 1964.
The Border Piper, Sandy Mutch, played Scotland the Brave as the service arrived at the £20 million station and for the first time in half a century, local customers could use rail to travel to Edinburgh, Newcastle.
- Reston Station will open in May
- Onsite tasks underway to prepare Reston railway station
- John Lamont MP visits Reston station site
To mark the historic occasion, the first train to call at the new station, a TPE Nova 1 (train number 802212), was named ‘St Abb’s Head’ after the picturesque Scottish National Trust reserve located just a few miles away.
Matthew Golton, managing director of TransPennine Express, who was among TPE customers on the first rail journey to Reston, said: “This is a landmark day for Reston – and for TPE – and we’re delighted we’ve been able to work with our partners to help connect communities in the Scottish Borders.
“Our customers are at the heart of everything we do, and it was fantastic to see so many using our newly named ‘St Abb’s Head’ Nova train this morning. We’re excited to welcome the hundreds of future travellers who have already purchased advanced tickets and look forward to the part TPE will play in providing new leisure and commuting opportunities for the local community.”
Transport Minister, Jenny Gilruth MSP, who travelled on one of the first TransPennine Express services from Edinburgh said: “Thanks to the Scottish Government’s investment of £20 million, rail services are returning to Reston station. I am delighted to be celebrating the re-opening of Reston, connecting another part of the Scottish Borders to Scotland’s rail network.
“For the first time since 1964 the people of Reston and Berwickshire will have rail connectivity.
“We know that reconnecting communities to rail isn’t just about transport; it’s opening up employment opportunities, it’s driving investment & it’s creating opportunity for future generations. This investment will change the lives of the people of Reston for the better.”
Ciaran Hatsell, the National Trust for Scotland’s Ranger for the Borders and St Abb’s Head National Nature Reserve, said: “This is a fantastic initiative by TransPennine Express and we’re greatly honoured by their decision to name one of their trains after St Abb’s Head.
“One of the core purposes of the Trust is to ensure people have access to heritage, and we are very supportive of the use of public transport to facilitate this. This initiative combines respect for a magnificent coastal setting with respect for the environment by promoting and improving rail use. We hope as many people as possible will take the opportunity to use the service.”
TPE also marked the occasion by handing out thousands of goody bags, providing free tea, coffee and water on board their services and inviting schoolchildren from Reston Primary School to visit the station for the first time. The children, who were also on hand to welcome the Minister for Transport to the station, were treated by TPE to a complimentary day trip to Edinburgh.
Eileen Anderson, 84, a local resident who worked in the ticket office of Reston Station in 1962, was invited to the opening by TPE, who made her an honouree member of the team for the day and she was there to witness the first services arriving at the station.
To celebrate the opening of Reston station, and the new connection of communities in Scotland and Northumberland, the rail operator has introducing special introductory fares from as little as £2.70 for travel between May 23 and August 22 this year.
The new services operate in each direction seven times per day between Edinburgh – Berwick-upon-Tweed (calling at Dunbar and Reston) and five times per day between Edinburgh – Newcastle (calling at Dunbar, Berwick-upon-Tweed, Alnmouth, Morpeth and Reston, with limited calls at Cramlington).
Passenger volumes on these services grew by 50 per cent in the past four months as customers took advantage of the new connectivity.