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Anger after station rejection blow

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By Euan Maxwell
Anger after station rejection blow

LONG held plans for the re-opening of Beattock railway station have been dismissed by Transport Scotland – with the decision described as a “huge blow” for Annandale.

It comes after the government agency wrote to the South of West of Scotland Transport Partnership (SWESTRANS) saying the economic cases simply “do not stack up” for opening of the station.

Similar railway proposals at Eastriggs and Thornhill were also rejected.

The Beattock Station Group has been tirelessly campaigning for their station to be re-opened and were disappointed earlier this year after it missed out entirely in the long awaited Strategic Transport Projects Review 2, with the Scottish Government stating new railway stations were not strategic projects.

Instead the Scottish Government claimed a separate process was available for new stations, but Transport Scotland has now responded to proposals from SWESTRANs and said there is not enough evidence to support the re-opening of Beattock station.

Annandale North councillor Carolyne Wilson admits the news is devastating for all the groups who have spent such time and effort campaigning and working to move forward with their plans.

Cllr Wilson added: “The campaigners have worked tirelessly to progress these plans and now they are back to square one.

“Re-opening Beattock would have been a real boost to residents in and around Beattock and Moffat, and could have been part of improved commuter services to Edinburgh and Glasgow.

“But once again rail passengers in our area are being treated as second class.

“The SNP Green Scottish Government are just not interested in improving transport links unless they’re in the Central Belt, it is unacceptable.”

And South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth, who is chairman of the Eastriggs Station Action Group, has accused the government of showing “utter contempt’ for the region.

Mr Smyth said: “The failure to even mention the re-opening of rail stations at Beattock, Eastriggs and Thornhill in STPR2 was shocking enough but the Government now say the economic case doesn’t stack up, but fail to provide any detailed reasons for their claim.

“The utter contempt from the SNP-Green Scottish Government in improving the region’s transport links is shocking.

“Of course stations in rural areas will never have the passenger numbers of a big central belt city station, but that fails to understand the importance of using station re-openings to boost the economy in a region already being left behind by this Government.

“The Borders Railway proved that when you open stations, they surpass the expectations of Transport Scotland whose record on these issues is utterly woeful.

“The result of their inaction is that our local economy continues to lag behind much of the rest of the Scotland.

“It is devastating and completely unacceptable.”


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