CAMPAIGNERS will meet with Scotland’s transport minister in a bid for a railway station to return to Haddington.

Rail Action Group East of Scotland (RAGES) has been lobbying for more than 20 years for the town to once again be connected to Edinburgh by rail.

Passenger services from Haddington Railway Station were scrapped in 1949 before the station closed to freight in 1968.

Craig Hoy, South Scotland MSP, has been calling for improvements to transport links in East Lothian and has already met with Jenny Gilruth MSP, Scotland’s transport minister.

Now, a further meeting, involving Mr Hoy, RAGES and Ms Gilruth is being lined up.

'Connect our town again'

Barrie Forrest, chairman of RAGES, was hopeful progress could be made.

He said: “Our ambition from the outset has always been to return a rail station to Haddington and connect our county town once again to the national rail network.

“Along with the rest of East Lothian, Haddington has had to absorb a significant amount of growth in recent years without any major investment in transport infrastructure.

“It is time that we addressed that anomaly and we are keen to have that discussion with the transport minister, who we know is an advocate of rail connectivity following her campaign to construct the Levenmouth link.

“We have noted the success of the Scottish Borders Railway, opened in 2015, which we believe demonstrates the positive impact investing in new rail projects can have on local communities and economies.

“It is also significant that the population of Haddington is comparable with Galashiels, which currently enjoys a half-hourly service.

“It is vital that we restore the link that Edinburgh once had with one of its major county towns and the wider rail network.

“It would be a major boost to the East Lothian economy and a boon to local residents and businesses.”

The site of the station in Haddington has since been redeveloped and there would need to be a new location found for any new station.

In recent years, RAGES has successfully campaigned for the opening of Reston station in the Borders and a station which is currently under construction at East Linton.

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Mr Hoy had asked for a further meeting during general questions at the Scottish Parliament.

Ms Gilruth was “more than happy” to meet with him and representatives of RAGES.

Mr Hoy said: “I am pleased that the Scottish Government is willing to engage with local campaigners who are looking to options to restore a railway connection between Haddington and Edinburgh, most probably through a restoration of the line to Longniddry.

“As one of Scotland’s fastest growing communities, it is only right that East Lothian’s bus, road and rail links meet the growing demands being placed upon them.”