South Scotland Labour MSP Colin Smyth and Local Councillors Adam Wilson and Sean Marshall are urging Transport Scotland to progress the applications to potentially re-open Beattock, Eastriggs and Thornhill Train Stations.
The call comes as the South West of Scotland Transport Partnership (SWESTRANs) agreed to submit the Scottish Transport Appraisal Guidance (STAG) 2 reports which were carried out in the last financial year to Transport Scotland.
The STAG 2 Reports led to options being produced for improved transport connectivity for Beattock and Moffat, Eastriggs and Thornhill individually. A number of options are proposed but it is highlighted in the reports that re-opening the stations would improve direct public transport connectivity to the Central Belt, Dumfries and Carlisle.
The SWESTRANS Board agreed to submit the STAG appraisals for the Station Re-openings to Transport Scotland to conclude the pre-pipeline process which all rail infrastructure work bids have to complete. If the bids are successful at this stage then they will progress onto the pipleline which will lead to an outline business case and final business case being developed before a final decision is taken to progress the Station re-opening bids.
Dumfries and Galloway Council have a commitment to campaign and work with Transport Scotland and Network Rail to see the re-opening of all three of the Stations. The Re-opening of the three Stations also features South West Scotland Transport Study (SWSTS) which is currently being carried out by Transport Scotland.
Local Labour politicians Colin Smyth, Adam Wilson and Sean Marshall believe that Transport Scotland should progress the Station re-opening applications to the pipeline process.
Colin Smyth MSP, Chair of the Eastriggs Action Group said, “A clear case has been made by communities in Eastriggs, Thornhill, Beattock and Moffat for these Stations to be re-opened to improve the connectivity of their communities. Re-opening the Stations would provide improved access to training and employment for our young people and provide increased opportunities for connectivity within and out with the region.
Infrastructure decisions such as Station re-openings are often made on the basis of cost-benefits analysis. However, it is well known that in rural areas a cost-benefit analysis result can not compete with a result for a similar project in the Central Belt with a larger population. Transport Scotland must consider the huge opportunity that re-opening these Stations could have for local communities, to grow our local community and to respond to the climate emergency by encouraging people to use public transport.”
Councillor Adam Wilson, whose Annandale North ward covers Beattock said, “The Beattock Station Action Group have campaigned for many years to get to this point. The Group have secured land adjacent to the railway line to allow for supporting infrastructure to be put in place. I am pleased that the SWESTRANs board have submitted the STAG report to Transport Scotland and urge them to seriously consider the benefit it could bring to the community and our economy.”
Councillor Sean Marshall, whose Annandale South ward covers Eastriggs said, “I have campaigned for a Railway Station since becoming a Councillor and it is the number one priority for the people of Eastriggs. SWESTRANS have submitted the case to Transport Scotland which is a significant step forward. If a new station becomes a reality it will the largest single factor in opening up economic, educational and social opportunities for the people of Eastriggs and surrounding area.”