SWestrans Board Agrees Next Steps For Beattock Station

The SWestrans Board’s final decision, having dismissed Dunragit as an viable option, was that the three remaining priority stations, Beattock/Moffat, Thornhill and Eastriggs, would move to the next stage of the process (i.e. Scottish Transport Appraisal Guidance part 1).

The Board meeting on 15th July deliberated the options, following a presentation where opportunities and problems were explored for Thornhill, Eastriggs, Dunragit/Glenluce and Beattock/Moffat station reopening’s. This included an analysis of each of the independent pre-STAG reports which had been prepared by Peter Brett Associates.

The estimated cost of this, for each station, was  in the region of £15000 – £20000, and it would fall to Dumfries & Galloway Council to provide the resources and finances to move this on, as part of D&G Council’s ongoing bid for funding from the Scottish Government’s Scottish Station’s £30 million fund for southern Scotland.

It is so good to know that Beattock’s reopening is now on a level playing field with Thornhill and Eastriggs for the next stage of the STAG process, and that SWestrans will provide the resources practical and financial to move this on (subject to Council Members’ approval re finances).

For all three stations this is the first tick in the box to enable access to the Scottish Stations Fund for our region, and well done to Peter Brett Associates and SWestrans for facilitating this.

It was also good to have Network Rail represented at the meeting. The WILL to change things for more sustainable transport options continues.

Thank you for your continued support.

Regards

Martin Brown

Chair of Beattock Station Action Group

STAG Pre-appraisal Report Highlights

Scottish Transport Appraisal Guidance pre-stage report finalised. The STAG provides the mechanism by which potential options to address evidence-based transport problems or opportunities are identified and appraised in a consistent manner.

  • Evidence, not solution-led, proportional and robust

Open Response Comments also included a focus on Beattock:

  • Many calls for a new rail station at Beattock
  • Feeling that station would improve connectivity and boost local
    economy
  • Issues with current public transport timetabling

Impact on transport integration

  • Impact on the elderly and disabled residents
  • Constraining access to key services
  • Increasing journey times

Official Beattock Transport Study Survey

Please help to support & forward our cause to complete The Transport Options Study by sharing your views on the transport provision in the Moffat/Beattock area and wider access to larger towns and Cities. Each family member can get involved as everyone has different transport needs and aspirations.

https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/Beattocktransportstudy

The independent Transport Options Study is supported by the regional transport forum, Swestrans, which represents Dumfries and Galloway Council. Re-opening Beattock Station is one of the Council’s transport priorities.

 

Communities take crucial first step towards reopening Beattock Station

The communities of Beattock, Moffat and the surrounding areas have taken the crucial first step towards reopening Beattock Station.

Beattock Station Action Group has joined forces with SWestrans, the regional transport partnership covering Dumfries and Galloway, to commission an expert pre-appraisal report into improving transport links in the area.

Following discussions earlier this year, SWestrans advised Beattock Station Action Group that it would seek to facilitate planning for station re-opening over the medium-term, taking account of the potential for development of a new west coast service under HS2.

Group Chairman Martin Brown said: “We’re delighted to be working in partnership with SWestrans to commission this essential report as a vital first step in the evaluation process for the reopening of Beattock Station”.

“This has been made possible by the generosity of local residents and businesses with contributions from Annandale & Nithsdale Community Benefit Co. courtesy of ScottishPower Renewables Harestanes, who have contributed towards the report because this is the only way that the Scottish Government will fund the reopening of the station. The response from our communities has been fantastic and we’d like to thank them for their support.

“A station at Beattock would give a massive boost to the local economy and stimulate regeneration. It would transform residents’ work opportunities, with a daily commute to Edinburgh or Glasgow taking only 45 minutes, and make it much easier for people to use the train for shopping or leisure.

“Better access to the rail network would also improve the environment for everyone by reducing the number of car journeys.”

A spokesperson for SWestrans said: “It is important for the ongoing development of the South West’s economy that there are effective public transport links to the Central Belt, and to England. Whilst we acknowledge the constraints on rail services, there are potential opportunities in the medium to long term which need to be comprehensively and objectively evaluated. This is why we are very pleased to work in partnership with Beattock Station Action Group. We share their commitment to improving services and we look forward to seeing the report.”

The report, which will be carried out by transport specialists Peter Brett Associates, will be published early in the New Year.

Moffat and Beattock are the focal point for travel, tourism and other businesses in central southern Scotland.

Situated on the West Coast Main Line, Beattock is an important transport hub, in a key location for travel, tourism and other businesses in central southern Scotland. The M74 motorway from Glasgow to the English border at Gretna runs near the line and the Southern Upland Way, Scotland’s famous 212-mile coast-to-coast walk, passes through Beattock, which is also on the National Cycle Network.

However, no train has stopped at Beattock, immortalised in WH Auden’s poem The Night Mail, for 43 years. The 48-mile stretch of railway track from Lockerbie to Carstairs is the longest in Britain with no station.

It is the view of Beattock Station Action Group that Beattock could be ideally placed to become a park and ride, or Parkway, station. The local community owns land next to the station that could be used for off-street parking. This makes Beattock an excellent option for people from the Dumfries area travelling northwards. The report would be an important step in establishing the feasibility of this.

Martin Brown – Chairman

About Beattock Station Action Group

We believe reopening Beattock Station will bring the following benefits:

  • Give the local community better work opportunities by enabling people to commute
  • Increase tourism and benefit local businesses by making it easier for people to visit the area
  • Enhance people’s quality of life by making it easier for them to travel outside the area for employment, shopping and leisure activities
  • Improve the environment by reducing people’s dependence on the car

Go to http://www.facebook.com/BeattockStationActionGroup and like our page, or follow us on Twitter @beattockstation

Railfuture Fighting Fund Award of £500 for Beattock Station Action Group

The Board of Directors of Railfuture has agreed to contribute £500 from its Fighting Fund to Beattock Station Action Group (BSAG) towards a feasibility and market study into the reopening of Beattock station on the West Coast mainline.

Railfuture head of Infrastructure & Networks Group, Chris Austin, reviewed our application support and said,

“I would have no hesitation in recommending that we allocate £500 to this project and we could learn much from its outcome, which could be applied to other re-openings.”

Martin Brown, BSAG Chair, said,

“The long term aim remains for the fund to provide the appraisal for a Station for Beattock which will provide significant benefits for the communities and its residents. We continue our campaign and are grateful for the support of Railfuture”

Beattock Station Action Group update

Having asked SWestrans in January to upend their priorities for STAG reports that put Beattock 4th out of 4 proposed Station reopening; offering to provide £14000 to supplement funds available for a STAG to be commissioned in 2015; the Swestrans report for their March decision making meeting highlights no change in their priorities and that to complete the first three reports would cost £90k, plus there was no further allocation of funds in 2015/16 and onwards thus Indicating Beattock is a low priority and the opportunity of Scottish Stations Fund (SSF) funding was not an option at this time. It has always been our submission that as we are in Scotland we were entitled to express our view to the SSF however, the issue that Beattock is not on a ScotRail line has meant that we always had a battle to fight.

However the outcome of the meeting was more positive for us as SWestrans would like to work with us to revisit a 2004 report with it’s agenda to address the community rail accessibility from stations between Carlisle to Carstairs Junction (naturally focussing on Beattock) to provide a suitable Appraisal Report and we would continue to raise funds for this report as a priority.

This would still involve us pursuing the agenda with Abellio (ScotRail from 1st April) to bring this section of line into the ScotRail Network; also looking to the new franchise for TPE both of which have remained in our operational focus over this period

The campaign is continuing and we’d urge everyone in the area to continue their support – we need their support to make this happen. We’ve met national politicians and senior rail managers at the highest level to raise awareness of the need for a station at Beattock. For example, earlier this month we attended the Cross Party Rail Group at Holyrood, we met Claire Perry MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department of Transport, and gained support from MP David Mundell, who has recently been very supportive of our campaign. Last week we met with Graham Meiklejohn Communications officer for First Group re the TPE franchise. 

Rest assured we’ll continue to lobby for Beattock and remain confident that our station will reopen in due course.

Martin Brown”

UK Transport Minister pledges support to Beattock Station Action Group

The group are committed to seeing the Station at Beattock re-opened and last week met the UK Transport Minister Claire Perry.

Speaking after the meeting Marin Brown said: ‘I had a very positive ten minutes with Ms Perry. I was pleased that she listened and she was very enthusiastic about our Cause’

David Mundell, who arranged the meeting, said: ‘When I knew the UK Transport Minister Claire Perry was to be in the area, I thought it would be a good opportunity for her to hear directly from campaign chair Martin Brown the positive case for re-opening Beattock and what help her department could provide in the process. I know Claire was very impressed with the briefing Martin gave her and undertook to make contact with SWESTRANS our local transport agency, to urge them to pro-actively back the Beattock re-opening bid and add to the momentum the campaign already has.

Mr Mundell continued: ‘I also used the opportunity of a meeting with the new chief executive of Abellio, the new operator of the Scotrail Franchise, to highlight the benefits of re opening Beattock station, which they would operate, and to explain how it gives more scope for the operation of Scotrail services between Edinburgh or Glasgow and Carlisle.’