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Beattock Station will move forward along with Thornhill and Eastriggs to the next stage of the process following approval from regional transport body SWESTrans on Friday.
SNP MSP Joan McAlpine has supported the Beattock Station Action Group (BSAG) since 2012, having put their case forward to SWESTrans, as well as the Transport Minister and Abellio. The MSP also brought the campaign to the attention of Virgin boss Sir Richard Branson.
Commenting, the South Scotland MSP said:
“I am absolutely delighted that Beattock Station will go forward to the next stage in the process of re-opening. Like the Campaign for Borders Rail in the late 90s, the Beattock Station Action Group is well organised and enthusiastic. They have worked so hard over the years to get to this stage – in particular raising enough cash to help commission an expert pre-appraisal report into improving transport links in the area.”
Beattock Station – which closed in 1972 – sits on the West Coast Mainline on the longest stretch of rail in the UK without a stop. Ms McAlpine said:
“I have no doubt Beattock could once again become an essential stop on the West Coast Main Line. Because of its place in history and literature, it has considerable tourist potential. It would also be an excellent stop off point for walkers keen to explore the beautiful Southern Uplands and the Grey Mare’s Tail.
“This is an exciting step on that journey.”
SNP Councillor for Annandale North, Stephen Thompson, praised the hard work and clear strategy of BSAG but warned that there is still work ahead to ensure the re-opening stays on track:
“The independent pre-appraisal clearly showed the re-opening of Beattock Station as one of the strongest options for improving the transport objectives, but Dumfries and Galloway Council still need to show support for the full STAG appraisal required for Beattock.
“The fact that the station is on the West Coast Main Line, controlled by the Department for Transport, makes Beattock’s case a unique challenge for the transport bodies in both Scotland and Westminster.
“Currently only Virgin and TransPenine Express services run on that line, but with Lockerbie passenger numbers increasing year on year and parking becoming an issue, it makes sense to have another stop to help cope with demand and open up the opportunities for visitors, commuters, and business in the north of the region. It’s the one stretch of line where the current national operator, Abellio, isn’t able to offer a service.