SNP South Scotland MSP Emma Harper has met with the Beattock Station Action Group last week (Wednesday 26 May) with local Councillor Stephen Thompson, to discuss their work to see a rail station reopened in the town of Beattock, which the South Scotland MSP said “makes sense in the interest of the local community, of increasing green tourism and in Scotland’s fight against the climate emergency.”

At the meeting, Ms Harper heard how the old Beattock Station was closed in 1972, when the West Coast Main Line was undergoing electrification having initially survived the UK Government’s Beeching Report, which led to the largest rail station closure in British history. This closure also led to a 48-mile stretch of railway with no stops whatsoever between Beattock and Carstairs, the UK’s longest stretch of rail with no train stops.

Ms Harper has said that it is simply unfair that her constituents in and around Beattock, including those living in the historic town of Moffat, have to travel up to 20 miles by road to get to the nearest train station in Lockerbie, when there is a station already in Beattock which could be opened with minimal work.

The Beattock Station reopening was identified as a priority in the Scottish Government’s Strategic Transport Projects Review 2 (SPR2) which Ms Harper and the Beattock Station Action Group have welcomed. However, the South Scotland MSP has now submitted a motion to the Scottish Parliament which highlights the work of the group and which calls on the Scottish Government to set out its timescale for implementing the STPR2.

Commenting, Ms Harper said:

“Beattock Station has been closed since 1072, when the UK Government embarked on its largest closure of UK rail stations which really impacted on many of our rural communities across South Scotland. The Beattock Station Action Group have carried out great work over the years in making the case for the station to be reopened. To me, it’s a no brainer – the station must be reopened to serve the communities of Beattock and Moffat, to increase accessible green tourism to our bonnie region and to encourage people to use public transport to help in the fight against the climate emergency.

“The reopening of the Beattock Station has been identified in the Scottish Government’s Strategic Transport Projects Review 2 (STPR2), particularly as the station and much of its required infrastructure already exists, but I am pressing the Scottish Government now to provide a timescale as to when the STPR2 recommendations will be taken forward. As well as the parliamentary motion which I have submitted, I am also raising this case directly with the Transport Minister.

“I will continue to support the Beattock Station Action Group and will keep constituents updated on this work as we move forward and I expect to hear back from the Scottish Government soon.”

Cllr Stephen Thompson added:

“I’d like to thank Emma Harper MSP for meeting on site with Beattock Station Action Group, and for supporting infrastructure improvements in the south of Scotland. The reopening of Beattock Station will be of immense benefit not just to people in the local rural area, but will help join up Scotland’s sustainable transport network as a whole. It will increase access and opportunities for businesses and visitors, will be a more climate-friendly mode of travel, and will put Moffat and Beattock on the map as a key location with faster links to Edinburgh and Glasgow.”

The Beattock Station Action Group added:

“We are grateful to Emma Harper MSP both for taking the time to come and meet with us in Beattock and for taking quick action following the meeting to help progress our case for the reopening of the Beattock Station. We have been a constituted group since 2012 and, since then, we have been carrying out work on the ground with local residents, who overwhelmingly support the reopening of the station.

“We look forward to Emma receiving a response from the Scottish Government and to continuing to work with her to advance our cause which will bring about huge benefit to Beattock, Moffat and to wider Dumfries and Galloway.”