On Monday morning, a service from Edinburgh stopped at the newly constructed Reston station, marking the first passenger service in the village since 1964.
A piper, Sandy Mutch, played Scotland the Brave as the train pulled into the station, while those on board the first services were given goody bags and free drinks.
Eileen Anderson, 84, a local resident who worked in the Reston ticket office in 1962, was invited to the opening, where she witnessed the first service arriving. TransPennine Express (TPE) also invited schoolchildren from Reston Primary School to visit the station for the first time and treated them to a complimentary day trip to Edinburgh.
Transport minister Jenny Gilruth, who travelled on one of the first TPE services from Edinburgh, said: “Thanks to the Scottish Government’s investment of £20 million, rail services are returning to Reston station. I am delighted to be celebrating the re-opening of Reston, connecting another part of the Scottish Borders to Scotland’s rail network.
“For the first time since 1964 the people of Reston and Berwickshire will have rail connectivity.
“We know that reconnecting communities to rail isn’t just about transport; it’s opening up employment opportunities, it’s driving investment and it’s creating opportunity for future generations. This investment will change the lives of the people of Reston for the better.”
To celebrate the opening of Reston station, and the new connection of communities in Scotland and Northumberland, the rail operator has introduced special introductory fares from as little as £2.70 for travel between May 23 and August 22.
The new services operate in each direction seven times per day between Edinburgh-Berwick-upon-Tweed (calling at Dunbar and Reston) and five times a day between Edinburgh-Newcastle (calling at Dunbar, Berwick-upon-Tweed, Alnmouth, Morpeth and Reston, with limited calls at Cramlington).
Matthew Golton, managing director of TPE, said: “This is a landmark day for Reston – and for TPE – and we’re delighted we’ve been able to work with our partners to help connect communities in the Scottish Borders.
“Our customers are at the heart of everything we do, and it was fantastic to see so many using our newly named ‘St Abb’s Head’ Nova train this morning. We’re excited to welcome the hundreds of future travellers who have already purchased advanced tickets and look forward to the part TPE will play in providing new leisure and commuting opportunities for the local community.”
The first train to arrive, a TPE Nova 1, was named ‘St Abb’s Head’ after the picturesque Scottish National Trust reserve located a few miles away from Reston.
Ciaran Hatsell, the National Trust for Scotland’s ranger for the Borders and St Abb’s Head National Nature Reserve, said: “This is a fantastic initiative by TransPennine Express and we’re greatly honoured by their decision to name one of their trains after St Abb’s Head.
“One of the core purposes of the trust is to ensure people have access to heritage and we are very supportive of the use of public transport to facilitate this."