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Rail groups in rift

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By Rod Edgar
Dumfries and West
Rail groups in rift

A RIFT has developed between a transport partnership and the campaign group calling for the return of a 14-mile rail link between Dumfries and Lockerbie.

Members of South West of Scotland Transport Partnership (SWestrans) were set to consider lending their support to the bid at their meeting last Friday.
Chairman Councillor Tom McAughtrie notes SWestrans’ decision to award grants towards a feasibility study on the re-opening of the Beattock, Eastriggs and Thornhill stations.
But referring to comments made by rail link campaigner Dr Belle Doyle in this newspaper last week, Councillor McAughtrie added: “If the new Dumfries to Lockerbie rail link folk don’t want to take advantage of that – that’s fine.”
Dr Doyle had called into doubt the value of SWestrans’ involvement, suggesting restoration of the rail link was ultimately a decision for the Scottish Government.
Councillor McAughtrie said: “Myself and the senior officer have got a meeting with Phil Vesper, who’s the head of ScotRail, in a couple of weeks’ time, and I was going to raise the matter there, but I don’t want to tread on anyone’s toes, so I won’t be raising it now.”
Similarly, Councillor McAughtrie notes he regularly meets with Scotland’s Transport Minister, but will now not raise the issue.
Dr Doyle meanwhile continues to voice scepticism about SWestran’s potential contribution.
She said: “If the council were going to give us money to do that feasibility study, that would be different, but I don’t think they will.
“I’m not discounting Tom McAughtrie or anything like that, but I want to know what they actually do, if they have any funding and how they expect to help us.”

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