Local MSP Colin Smyth has criticised a Scottish Government Transport Study for the South of Scotland, for apparently failing to include agencies from Dumfries and Galloway.
The study announced earlier this week includes consideration of extending the Borders railway to Carlisle. South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth backs the extension but wants any future rail line to include a railway station in Langholm, which would mean the line travelling through Dumfries and Galloway. However, when launching the study Transport Minister Humza Yousaf announced it would be a partnership between the Scottish Government and Scottish Borders Council, Transport Scotland and South East of Scotland Transport (SEStrans). No reference was made to the South West of Scotland Transport Agency (SWESTRANs) or Dumfries and Galloway Council. The move raises fears that the route for any possible extension would just travel through the Borders to Cumbia, by passing Langholm.
South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth said, “I very much welcome any study that looks at how the totally inadequate transport links in the South of Scotland can be improved. But this study includes considering the possible extension of the Borders Railway. Whilst the old route of the railway to Carlisle didn’t go through Dumfries and Galloway, I strongly believe that if the line is extended it should pass through the region and go via Langholm, which is the largest town in the area south of Hawick. The failure of the Scottish Government to include agencies from Dumfries and Galloway in any study raises the fear that the route of any possible future extension will simply bypass Langholm and Dumfries and Galloway. Dumfries and Galloway Council and SWESTRANs support an extension but both want that extension to go through Langholm, not follow the original Borders railway line route which excluded Dumfries and Galloway. The study will also look at the possibility of improvements to the A7, which again has major implications for Dumfries and Galloway given that the road passes through the region. It is therefore vital that both Dumfries and Galloway Council and SWESTRANs are part of any study into transport within the South of Scotland or the Scottish Government will be accused of ignoring the region. I have therefore written to Transport Minister Humza Yousaf and the Chief Executive of Transport Scotland Roy Brannen, calling on them to ensure that agencies from Dumfries and Galloway are part of the study”.
The Transport Scotland press release announcing the study can be viewed here: