GROUNDWORKS are to be carried out in East Linton ahead of plans for a long-awaited railway station returning to the village.

Campaigners have been calling for a station to return to the village, on the East Coast Main Line, for more than 20 years.

Currently, it is planned that the station will be open before 2024, with campaigners calling for it to be in place as soon as possible.

Now, a letter has been sent out to village residents highlighting upcoming work in the area.

The letter reads: “We will shortly begin survey work and site investigation activity on railway land in your neighbourhood.

“This work is required to help the design of a new station at East Linton.

“Our work will involve detailed survey activities, which may require us to cut back some vegetation.

“Our site investigation work also requires us to use drilling equipment to check ground conditions in proposed development sites.

“Where possible, the work will be carried out during the day.

“However, some of our investigations need to be undertaken on the railway embankment or directly underneath the tracks.

“In order to access these locations, we will need to carry out the work at night while trains are not operating.

“During this period of work, we will have a small compound located on site to provide facilities for our staff.

“The compound will be set up from Saturday February 1 until our work is complete and will be located adjacent to the railway, with access taken through Orchardfield Estate, East Linton.”

The works come at the same time as East Lothian MSP, Iain Gray, has cautiously welcomed a response from Scotland’s transport secretary on the progress of the station.

Michael Matheson’s response to written parliamentary questions from Mr Gray, which he submitted in light of the decision to end the Abellio ScotRail contract three years early, indicated that Network Rail are progressing with the station designs with the intention of submitting a planning application later this year.

Alongside the work required for completing the station, the cabinet secretary also highlighted that an industry working group is developing plans for the December 2021 East Coast Main Line timetable, including services for East Linton.

Mr Gray was pleased progress was being made but vowed to keep the pressure on to ensure there were no delays.

He said: “Following the government’s decision to cut short Abellio’s ScotRail franchise, I asked parliamentary questions about progress on delivering East Linton’s new rail station in order to ensure the franchise decision will not affect the project.

“Thankfully, while the replies from Mr Matheson have not provided an exact date for the completion of the project, they have offered some reassurance that the project is progressing and the new station should be delivered by 2024 at the latest.

“That is good news for people in East Linton who have been waiting such a long time for this important new infrastructure.

“However, while the progress is welcome, there is still a significant way to go to before it is finalised and benefitting the local community.

“Given all the delays we have endured, I’m fully committed to maintaining the pressure on Ministers to ensure the station is delivered.”

East Linton previously had a railway station, which closed in 1964.

It is expected the new station will be created to the west of the previous version.