MSP Joan McAlpine welcomed Transport Minister Humza Yousaf’s constructive meeting at the Scottish Parliament with Thornhill station campaigners.
The SNP MSP attended a cross-party meeting with the Thornhill Station Action Group and Mr Yousaf at the Scottish Parliament earlier today.
Mr Yousaf commended the group for engaging with MSPs from different parties, as well as the local school, employers and the wider community.
Speaking after the meeting, Ms McAlpine said:
“I was very grateful that Mr Yousaf met with the Thornhill Station Action Group, and that the meeting was so constructive.
“One of the achievements of the SNP government is the opening and restoration of railway stations and lines. It’s a very popular policy – Mr Yousaf told us that more than 60 communities across Scotland are campaigning for new stations – but he acknowledged the strength of the socio economic case for Thornhill, which serves a very fragile rural area that is badly served by existing transport infrastructure.”
Thornhill station closed in 1965, and the Thornhill Station Action Group think re-opening it boost local employment prospects, stop the ‘brain-drain’ from the town and have a positive impact on the environment.
Ms McAlpine has been supporting the group since she was first approached last year – and she included reopening the station in her submission to the Scottish Government’s consultation on refreshing the National Transport Strategy.
“I think the Thornhill Action Group have a really strong case to re-open Thornhill Station.
“I was also interested to hear students Georgie and Mia discussing how networking between schools for their Advanced Higher Modern Studies course was almost impossible due to the fact that there are no decent transport links to get to other schools in the region.
“At over 28 miles long, the Nith Valley line between Sanquhar and Dumfries is the longest stretch on the route without a station – it is clear to me that the communities of the mid Nith Valley and Glencairn would benefit considerably from a train station here.
“It’s always going to be a lot of work, but the Minister and his officials assured the group that they were following the correct process, and that Transport Scotland will be on hand to give advice.”