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Strategic review needed of Edinburgh-Newcastle local passenger services

Published 05 August 2021 by Transform Scotland

Transform Scotland has today published its response to the review of the East Coast Main Line rail timetable.

LNER Azuma train at Edinburgh Waverley. Photo: Paul Tetlaw

Transform rail spokesperson Paul Tetlaw said:

“We welcome LNER’s proposed improved journey times from Edinburgh to London. These align with our long-time calls for modal shift from air to rail on this key corridor connecting the two capital cities. In the longer term we would expect further improvements on this route to deliver sub-four hour journey times. These can be delivered by further infrastructure improvements and raising train speeds from 125 to 140mph.

However, Transform feels that greater action will be needed to improve the infrastructure on its approach to Edinburgh to allow aspirations for long-distance and local commuter services to both be met. Tetlaw continued:

“Investment in infrastructure at the northern end of the East Coast Main Line is in stark contrast to that at the southern end. Consequently we currently have insufficient and irregular local services to Dunbar and a largely hourly service to North Berwick. New stations are being developed at Reston and East Linton and the proposals for local services are wholly inadequate. A new hourly local service is required and this should serve East Linton, Dunbar and Reston and be extended to Berwick-upon-Tweed. There is also conflict between services on the ECML and those on the Borders Railway, and the long-overdue opportunity to resolve this problem must be taken by addressing congestion at Portobello Junction.”

Transform’s full response is available for download.