A MEETING between campaigners calling for a new railway station in Haddington and Scotland’s transport minister has been shelved.

Rail Action Group East of Scotland (RAGES) has been working for more than 15 years to bring a station back to the county town.

Haddington has been without a railway station for passengers since the late 1940s.

Previously, a meeting was lined up between RAGES and then transport minister Jenny Gilruth MSP.

When the Mid Fife and Glenrothes politician was appointed minister for education, it was thought a meeting would take place with her successor, Kevin Stewart MSP.

However, that does not look likely to happen in the near future.

A spokesperson for the campaign group was disappointed in the decision.

They said: “The group acknowledges that the minister has many important matters on his agenda, and understands that the ministerial reshuffle has caused the most recently planned meeting to be cancelled.

“However, given the ongoing rapid growth of Haddington’s population, mostly government-led, and ever worsening road congestion on the A1, it is time for Haddington to be plugged in to the electrified rail network to radically improve connectivity by halving the journey time to the city centre, increasing opportunities for education, work and leisure, and reducing carbon emissions.

“We are confident that the minister will honour the commitment to a meeting made by his predecessor, Jenny Gilruth, so that Haddington’s case can be taken forward.”

The announcement has also been criticised by Craig Hoy, South Scotland MSP.

The former Haddington and Lammermuir ward Conservative member on East Lothian Council accused the SNP of “failing to put the interests of East Lothian residents first”.

Regarding the postponed meeting, Mr Hoy said: “It is deeply disappointing and indicates they do not have East Lothian’s growing transport needs in mind.”

Mr Stewart, minister for transport, stressed the importance of local campaign groups.

He said: “While I am unable to meet the campaign group at this time due to diary pressures, it is recognised that the work of local groups and organisations plays an important role in informing which local rail connectivity issues should be investigated.

“It is for this reason that the Scottish Government created the Local Rail Development Fund (LRDF) to provide funding opportunities for studies to be undertaken using Scottish Transport Appraisal Guidance (STAG).

“LRDF studies are considered by Transport Scotland and if a strong business case is presented for a rail intervention these are considered further in line with the Scottish Government’s investment priorities for the strategic transport network, the affordability and along with other competing proposals.

“The multi-modal Transport Appraisal for the Haddington area is part-funded by the LRDF and is ongoing by East Lothian Council. Once completed and submitted it will be considered by Transport Scotland so that the next steps can be determined.”