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Edinburgh Live
Edinburgh Live
National
Steven Brown

Bid to reopen 'ghost' East Lothian railway station that closed over 70 years ago

East Lothian locals are campaigning to bring back an old railway line - which was closed over 70 years ago.

RAGES, a railway campaign group based in East Lothian are looking to reinstate the Haddington station. The members of the group say re-opening the line would reduce severe traffic and carbon emission, alongside increasing opportunities for work, education and tourism.

The train station was closed in 1949 and in 1968, the line was discontinued which was part of the infamous Beeching Cuts of the 1960's. These were introduced to restructure railway across Britain and were massively unpopular at the time.

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In 2015, it was announced by Network Rail that they would be re-developing the East Linton station, located in East Lothian and is now due to open in Spring 2024 which has led to a resurgence in the campaign to reopen the Haddington railway station.

Haddington resident for 40 years, 64 year-old, Stewart Leslie has been part of RAGES for a considerable amount of time and said: "Haddington has grown enormously, population wise since the railway closed and we reckon Haddington is up to around 15,000 people now and growing with more houses as we speak. Haddington is about the size of Galashiels and we know how successful the re-opening of the border railway has been as it has vastly expanded passenger expectations."

The RAGES group's stall at Haddington market meet regularly (RAGES)

"Haddington is entirely dependent on road communication so are at a major disadvantage with comparison to Dunbar, North Berwick, Musselburgh or Prestonpans who all have a good electric train service."

"The so-called express bus service takes something like 50 minutes to get down to the centre of Edinburgh whereas we expect an electric train could do that in just about half of that and that would be perfectly feasible, this would really improve the lives of everybody in Haddington."

Since the closure of the station it has significantly changed. (East Lothian Council Archive)

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Stewart went onto talk about the opportunities that a train service in Haddington would create, he went onto say: "It would increase opportunities for old, young and everyone in between in terms of access to education, work and leisure."

"Youngsters getting to Queen Margaret University is pretty convoluted and a train station for students along with others would be improved and for people getting into Edinburgh and further it would make life a lot easier."

At the moment the old line is used by the general public by walkers, joggers and cyclists for exercise.

However, the pressure group already has an idea of how the station would work with a reinstatement of the railway with two single-platform stations, being a terminus station on the original site, and a second 1.5 miles out towards Longniddry.

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