CLOSING Prestonpans Railway Station would outrage rail users and be a significant loss to the town, it has been claimed.

East Lothian politicians Iain Gray MSP and Martin Whitfield MP have joined forces to oppose any move to shut the station or move it closer to the planned new town at Blindwells, between Prestonpans and Longniddry.

Their comments come after the idea was floated in the blueprint for the future of the former Cockenzie Power Station site, the Cockenzie Masterplan, which was unveiled by East Lothian Council last month and then discussed at East Lothian Community Rail Partnership’s AGM.

READ MORE: Suggestion train station could close

Both politicians have met with the chairman of Prestonpans Community Council, a role which Mr Whitfield held before being elected to Westminster this year, and agreed to fight any future plans to shut the station.

Mr Gray has already submitted a Parliamentary question to the Scottish Government’s Transport Minister Humza Yousaf MSP urging him to rule out the proposal and seeking assurances on the future of Prestonpans station.

He said: “Rail users in Prestonpans will rightly be outraged at the suggestion that their station should be closed or moved to Blindwells.

“This is one of the busiest stations in the county and many people rely on its services to get to and from work.

“Closing the station or moving it to Blindwells would cause massive disruption and be a significant loss to the town.

“I will be working with the community council to do everything possible to ensure that this proposal goes no further.

“I have started by asking Humza Yousaf to confirm it is not something the Scottish Government will support.”

The draft masterplan, which was drawn up by consultants following a series of public consultations and workshops in the local community, includes the option of “minor upgrades to the existing stations at Prestonpans and Longniddry, through relocation of either or both of these two stations, to the construction of an additional new station to directly serve Blindwells and/or Cockenzie”.

In September the Courier put claims that Prestonpans Railway Station was being considered for closure to Network Rail, which insisted there was no plan to shut it.

But a report on East Lothian Community Rail Partnership’s AGM states that a senior member of ScotRail confirmed to members that there was a “possibility that Prestonpans station will be moved east nearer Blindwells and a joint station established”.

ScotRail, however, denies this was ever stated and also says that it has no plans to close any railway stations.

East Lothian MP Mr Whitfield said that any decision to close the station would cause real concerns. He said: “As the former chairman of Prestonpans Community Council, I am well aware of how much local people value the town’s rail station.

“There are already concerns about some aspects of the local train service in Prestonpans, especially overcrowding. However, the answer must be to invest in improving the service on the line and deal with passengers’ concerns, not close the station, which would only make things worse.”