South Scotland

Action group makes Beattock station case

Rob Newman Image copyright Rob Newman
Image caption South of Scotland MSP Jim Hume said reopening the station could bring major benefits

An action group has met Transport Minister Keith Brown to make the case for reopening a station at Beattock.

It is one of four sites in Dumfries and Galloway seeking funding to create new rail links.

South of Scotland Lib Dem MSP Jim Hume believes reopening the station would be a huge boost for the local economy, as well as commuters and business.

He said the Scottish government's £30m Scottish Stations Fund could play a key role in regenerating links.

Campaigners have previously met Dumfries and Galloway Labour MP Russell Brown - who agreed reopening the station could bring "real benefits" for the area.

Beattock Station closed in 1972 when the West Coast Main line was electrified.

However, supporters say its position - 45 minutes from both Glasgow and Edinburgh - would open up commuter and leisure opportunities and boost the economy of the Moffat area.

Beattock Station Action Group Chairman Martin Brown said: "We are the mouse that roared - we really want to make ourselves known.

"We really want a station, we feel that a station is vital for the future of this particular region.

"We do see Moffat and Beattock as the hub of activity for travel, for tourism and for economic activity.

"The only thing we don't have is a train that stops."

The transport minister said an essential first step was for a Scottish Transport Appraisal Guidance (STAG) report to be carried out.

"We have to have some objective basis on which to assess each application so what is called a STAG report - a report looking at pressures and what the best solution might be - has to be done first of all," he said.

He said the action group would need to speak to the local council and the region's transport partnership SWestrans about that process.

'Fleshed out'

"That is a conversation they have to have before coming to the Scottish government," he explained.

"We have 43 expressions of interest.

"There are particular pressures at Beattock because of the position it has on the network with fast trains coming through not wanting to extend journey times.

"That is something which can be fleshed out by the STAG report."

Earlier this year Dumfries and Galloway Council unveiled plans to seek government funding to establish up to four new local train stops.

In order of priority, they were at Thornhill, Eastriggs, Dunragit/Glenluce and Beattock.

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