2018 Meeting with Transport Minister presentation

The presentation given to the Scottish Government’s Transport Minister by the Action Group and students of Moffat Academy.

The notes for each of the Academy pupils follows below and the visual presentation is at the end of the notes in the form of a downloadable powerpoint presentation.

1 – Moffat Academy pupils and also where we each live:
Thank you for giving us the opportunity to speak to you about how the opening of the railway station at Beattock would affect young people in the area. Our group comprises a group of pupils from Moffat Academy :
Jodie Shannon – currently in S6 – lives in Beattock
Emma Carlyle – also S6 – has lived in Beattock all her life and previous generations have too
Hayley Drummond – also S6 – lives in Moffat – just 2 miles from Beattock
Finlay Fraser Dowds – currently in S3 – lives in Moffat
Matthew Macfarlane – currently in S1 – from south of Moffat
Beattock is uniquely placed – at the very north of Dumfries and Galloway – but slap bang in the middle of the country from east to west. It is just 2 miles from Moffat – a popular destination for tourists. Nearest cities are Glasgow, Edinburgh and Carlisle. The stretch of rail track going through Beattock is in the longest length of track in the UK with no station – people from our area therefore have to travel to access a train service. If the station was reopened it would have a major impact on the local population but especially young people as the major Scottish cities would be only 45 minutes away.
Currently our closest station is at Lockerbie – around 15 miles away. The service from Lockerbie is good but the lack of bus services linking in with the train times means that there is often a long wait to access a train. This is especially true in bad weather – as we saw from the snow last week. For people with cars it is easier although Lockerbie Station has very limited parking and the neighbouring streets are always congested causing disruption for people living near the station. Reopening Beattock Station would alleviate that problem.
If Beattock Station reopened it could have an enormous impact on young people accessing further and higher education. 65% of pupils from our school go on the further study with the majority aiming for places at institutions in Glasgow and Edinburgh. Having a direct rail link would mean easier journeys for students and for the first time would open up the possibility of students staying at home while studying in the city. Given the high cost of halls of residence this would be especially beneficial for students nervous about living in the city and for students from less affluent families worried about the financial implications of further study. Drop out rates are high and for some students the opportunity to remain at home while they transition to student life could make the difference.
1. In recent years a community action plan was drawn up to help identify things that will be important in Moffat and Beattock in the next 10 years. Lots of groups were consulted on their views – pupils at both both Beattock Primary and Moffat Academy played their part in presenting the views of young people. The reopening of the station was seen as a “game changer” for both communities – the Beattock action plan identified the importance of the station as helping to make Beattock
a) A transport Hub for the area
b) A safe and pleasant place to live
c) A place with a growing community
d) A place where local people are leading
If Beattock Station were to reopen it would also be important for the local economy of the area. Moffat is an important tourist town with many people employed in the local shops, hotels, cafes and restaurants. Opening a station would bring more people in to the town securing jobs and bringing prosperity to the local economy. Recently statistics showed that Moffat has one of the highest proportions of people who are self employed. Improving transport links would encourage other entrepreneurs to base themselves here knowing that they are in close proximity to the cities should they need it. The Borders railway showed how important the reopening could be for tourism – with 8% increase in employment linked to tourism being achieved there.
Moffat has a thriving tourist trade with many key events on the calendar. These include events such as the sheep race, the world gold panning championship and the vintage car rally pulling in visitors. At the moment all these visitors have to come by car or bus. If the station reopened with shuttle buses to Moffat it could bring in even more visitors.

8. Hayley
For young people opening the station would help end feelings of rural isolation.
People don’t feel like they will be stuck here forever – allowing them to be more ambitious
Mental health is a huge issue just now – especially for young people – and young people in our area are no different. Some people in our area are dependent on alcohol or drugs and unemployment is also an issue. Being able to access life in the city may help some people see that there are other possibilities out there.
People would be able to access the full range of events on offer in the city. This would include sporting events like big football matches, rugby internationals, Commonwealth games etc Music and theatre venues would also be opened up e.g. the SSE Hydro. We have talented young people at Moffat Academy – for example we have national champions in gymnastics – opening up the railway would allow elite athletes and musicians to access world class facilities and training programmes in the cities.
10. Matthew
To conclude
We think the reopening of the station could be really important to open up opportunities for young people wanting to access student life, it could transform the local economy and create jobs and it could improve the quality of life for young people in the area. With your help we hope that the success of the Borders Railway could become a reality for Beattock too. Thank you.