Berwickshire is missing out

I was pleased to be able to drop in on the Rail Action Group East of Scotland AGM last week before attending another engagement.

RAGES is now in its 16th year of campaigning for better rail services in Berwickshire and East Lothian and is an organisation I have always done my best to support. There seemed to be a real breakthrough last year, when the Scottish Government announced that Reston station would be opening by December 2016. Sadly this now appears to have been a bit of a false promise and the timetable is likely to be some time in 2018, according to the new Minister for Transport Derek MacKay.

There was some discussion about the Borders Railway and while everyone at RAGES welcomed this investment, I was interested to hear that the cost benefit ratio of Reston station is nearly three times as high as that of some of the stations on the Edinburgh to Tweedbank line.

If money can be found for Tweedbank, I see no reason why it should not be invested in Reston. Once again it appears that residents in Berwickshire are missing out on their fair share of funding for a much needed station.

I look forward to working with Barrie Forrest, Tom Thorburn and all those at RAGES to ensure residents get the service they deserve and Reston Station is re-opened as soon as possible.

I was really pleased to lodge a motion in the Scottish Parliament to praise all the communities involved in the Scottish Borders Council’s Floral Gateway Awards.

This year’s winners and runners-up were celebrated at a ceremony recently. Melrose came out as well deserved Champion of Champions, but praise goes to Coldstream and Coldingham for winning the large town and small town awards respectively.

I know that a number of communities across the Borders have worked really hard to put on these fantastic floral displays. Everyone involved has done a fantastic job in making our already very picturesque Borders communities even more welcoming to visitors.

After a brilliant summer of festivals and ridings, these awards are just another example of the fantastic community spirit which exists in the Borders. This is something we should all cherish and work hard towards protecting.

My weekly surgeries throughout my constituency of Ettrick, Roxburgh and Berwickshire are starting up again after my summer surgery tour. All the details and forthcoming dates can be found on my website

No appointment is necessary so please feel free to come along if you have a problem which you think that I might be able to help with. As always, I will do my best to help you out with whatever problem you have and never send constituents away just because the Scottish Parliament isn’t in charge of the matter. Alternatively, please call my constituency office on 01450 375 948 or send me an email and I will do my best to assist. For tours of the Scottish Parliament, please contact my Parliamentary office on 0131 348 6533.