South Scotland MSP, Colin Smyth has welcomed the decision by members of the South West of Scotland Transport Partnership (SWESTRANS) to progress the case for the reopening of local railway stations to the next stage.
The transport agency met on Friday (30 June) where members backed plans to fund Scottish Transport Appraisal Guidance (STAG) Part 2 assessments for the re-opening of Eastriggs and Thornhill stations, with a view to also carrying out a STAG2 appraisal for Beattock subject to securing additional funding. The move followed positive STAG1 reports which highlighted that there were strong arguments for the re-opening of the station.
Colin Smyth MSP said:
“I’m pleased that SWESTRANS have agreed to carry out the next stage of the appraisal process for Eastriggs and Thornhill, and I hope Beattock can also be completed either within the budget set or extra funding can be found. All have strong cases for stations to be re-opened. For example, over 300 people a day travel by train between Annan and Carlisle, and this number would increase with the addition of a station at Eastriggs. The very fact that extra services are planned from Dumfries to Carlisle shows there is growing demand to travel by rail for employment, education and leisure”.
However, the MSP warned that the final decision on whether the Government will fund new stations will be political and urged the public to back the case for the re-opening of the stations.
Colin Smyth added:
"While a STAG2 appraisals followed by full business cases are vital when seeking the re-opening of railway stations, given that Government Ministers will make the final decisions, we need to show the Government that the public back the re-openings. That will need a major campaign over the next few years as there will be many other parts of Scotland where cases will be made for funding for new stations”.
The papers for the SWESTRANS meeting held on Friday 30 June can be viewed here
Page 105, Item 16 discusses the re-opening of the railway stations. The recommendations in the report were agreed at the meeting.