Lothians Green MSP Mark Ballard will today call for the re-opening of the South Suburban railway line in Edinburgh in the Parliament’s last member’s business debate of the session. (1) 
Greens will argue that re-connecting communities by re-opening stations will have multiple benefits for the economy and environment, crucially tackling commuter congestion and offering an affordable, efficient, convenient alternative to the car.
Mr Ballard said: “The opportunity to reopen the South Suburban railway line is one that must not be missed. For too long the Executive and the council have procrastinated. For £30m, a fraction of the cost of the new roads funded by LibDem ministers, Edinburgh could have a flagship rail scheme that will cut congestion and pollution. 
“There have been plans to re-open the South Suburban since its closure in the 1960s – this should be at the top of everyone’s priorities for the transport system in Edinburgh. It will allow very rapid rail transport from Gorgie in the West to Brunstane in the East, inter-changing with buses all along the route and with trams at Haymarket and Cameron Toll.
“Climate change will have a devastating impact on the economy, and congestion already costs the UK £20 billion each year, so business have a great deal to gain and nothing to lose by supporting the revival of rail network that really meets the needs of communities. Re-opening stations to relieve congestion and reduce traffic levels should be a priority for the next Executive – the current government has commissioned new road after new road at the expense of public transport.”

The South Suburban line had stops at Waverley, Haymarket, Gorgie and Craiglockhart and onto Morningside, Blackford Hill, Cameron Toll, Craigmillar, Niddrie, and Portobello. There will be stops at The Jewel and Kinnaird under the proposed e-Rail scheme, with Holyrood, Abbeyhill and Meadowbank. The scheme has raised half of the funding privately and Greens want the post-election Executive to ensure funding for the rest of the scheme is found.

Note to Editors:
1. Motion for debate:

S2M-5762# Mr Mark Ruskell (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Green) : Reconnecting Communities by Rail— That the Parliament welcomes the work undertaken by communities across Scotland to enhance the rail network; recognises in particular the long-standing need to reopen railway stations at Blackford, Greenloaning, St Andrews and Levenmouth, and further recognises the role that community rail partnerships and businesses can play in developing new services and enhancing the quality and uptake of existing services.
Supported by: Bruce Crawford, Rosie Kane, Christine May, Mr John Swinney, Shiona Baird, Mark Ballard, Ms Rosemary Byrne, Robin Harper, Patrick Harvie, Tricia Marwick, Eleanor Scott, Chris Ballance, Roseanna Cunningham, Mr David Davidson, Murdo Fraser, Rob Gibson, Mr Ted Brocklebank, Nora Radcliffe, John Swinburne, Ms Sandra White, Donald Gorrie, Dr Jean Turner