A SUGGESTION to stop long-distance trains from stopping at Dunbar has been described as “a tremendous backwards step”.

A series of plans are being considered for the line which could have a major impact on passengers travelling to and from Edinburgh, with the possibility of moving Drem’s station off the mainline also mooted.

The ideas were highlighted at a meeting of the rail forum, which saw representatives from Transport Scotland, Network Rail, ScotRail and LNER, as well as community organisations and councillors attend.

Among those in attendance at the meeting in Haddington was Dunbar and East Linton ward member Councillor Norman Hampshire, who said there was “really a lot of new information”.

That included the possible creation of four tracks from Edinburgh to Drem, a distance of 18 miles, as well as potentially moving Drem off the mainline.

He added: “The other idea, once you get to Edinburgh, there is the possibility of creating an Edinburgh East station, like you have Haymarket on the western side.

“Then, there would be transport by bus or tram to get you into the city centre.”

However, perhaps the most controversial was the suggestion of LNER trains no longer stopping at Dunbar.

Instead, an hourly service into Edinburgh would be created but Mr Hampshire was keen to see the trains continuing to stop in the town.

Mr Hampshire highlighted the issue at the town’s community council meeting and said: “I told the forum that it would be really opposed by the community.

“There would be a lot of opposition to doing that.

“If we want trains to provide for the community, they would be really opposed to losing intercity trains stopping at Dunbar.”

The trains not only connect Dunbar and Edinburgh but are regularly used by people from throughout the county who are travelling south of the Border.

George Robertson, chairman of Dunbar and East Linton Area Partnership, was at the community meeting. He said: “I would not be in favour of cancelling all long-distance trains from Dunbar.

“It would be a tremendous backwards step.”

Mr Robertson, who is also a member of the community council, found the news “very surprising and somewhat concerning”.

He noted people came from throughout East Lothian to use the trains, which head to destinations including London and Plymouth.

A spokesman for Transport Scotland said: “Decisions regarding any future service patterns have not yet been made and will be influenced by the ongoing appraisal work currently being conducted by Network Rail.

“The aim would be to deliver services that meet the needs of the local communities through engagement with both ScotRail and Cross Border Operators to determine the most effective and affordable solution.”