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.’

Meeting of the Cross Party Group on Rail in the Scottish Parliament

Tuesday, 3rd February 2015, 5.30 pm Holyrood

On the day a small group of us attended the meeting as we were interested in what was to be presented by the new chief executive of Abellio.

Mike Kean then spoke on the subject of the new ScotRail franchise that is due to be operated by Abellio from 1 April 2015. He outlined the successful bid that Abellio had made for the franchise and spoke of the reasoning behind it and the vision for the future of Scotland’s railway. He highlighted the importance of integration with other modes of transport and customer benefits. He said that Abellio had started stakeholder engagement in October 2012 to prepare for the bid. New electric trains had been ordered and in addition a fully refurbished fleet of inter-city trains would be delivered.

There would be a “deep alliance” with Network Rail. The aim was to transform the network. The management approach would be “the Abellio way”. The refurbished fleet of high-speed inter-city trains would have power doors, improved comfort, compliance with regulations for passengers with reduced mobility and on-train catering. Capacity would be increased by 20 per cent and there would be an “uplift” of the 1st Class service.

Savings in journey-time would include 12 minutes from Inverness to Edinburgh and Glasgow. As part of the programme of transforming the quality of Scotland’s rail services, refurbished Class 158 trains, with interior layouts modelled on those currently on trains on the Far North Line, would serve tourist lines. There would be “refreshed” Class 156 trains for South West Scotland. There would be a series of apps to help passengers. Abellio would introduce their system of “bike-and-go” cycle hire. A Smart Card would be developed.

At question time:
After a brief introduction of our plight I asked if it was Abellio’s intention to bring the stretch of line between Lockerbie & Carstairs Junction into the Scotrail network and highlighted the absence of a station serving the Beattock/Moffat area left a big gap in the network.

“Mr Kean said Abellio would stop at stations where there was a case to do so.”

In the run up to the new franchise Abellio, when they met with us, were impressed with our business case and agreed to work with the Beattock Station Action Group should they be the chosen operator. We look forward to a further conversation with them.

Martin Brown

Action Group AGM 2014

Beattock Station Action Group are holding their AGM on Wednesday 3rd December 2014 at 7:00pm in Beattock Village Hall.

All welcome and refreshments will be available. The evening will include a short business progress catch up through a presentation.

bsag-agm-2014

Beattock Station in Top 50

These are RailfutureScotland’s top 50 stations, most of them shown in the graphic. All lie on existing or government proposed rail lines and are those assessed to provide the greatest immediate benefits. Most can be served by existing train services.

Lists of additional stations and new/re-built lines which Railfuture also supports are included in separate documents which may be available on request.

railfuturescotland-top50

Station Proposal
Beattock

Anticipated minimum annual usage
86,000

Top 50 stations PDF document

Help us raise £25,000 for expert report

Campaigners seeking to reopen Beattock Station have launched a £25,000 appeal to fund a crucial feasibility study.

Beattock Station Action Group is calling on the communities of Beattock, Moffat and the surrounding areas to donate towards this expert report, which will be carried out by an industry specialist.

The Scottish Government has set aside money for the rebuilding of stations such as Beattock, if communities can prove the need.

Group Chairman Martin Brown said: “We’re asking businesses and residents to contribute towards the expert report because this is the only way that the Scottish Government will fund the reopening of the station. This was confirmed by Transport Minister Keith Brown when he visited us last month.

“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.

“We’re very encouraged that we’ve already received three-figure donations from a number of local businesses. We hope everyone will get behind the campaign – it’s your station and your future.”

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 42 years. The 48-mile stretch of railway track from Lockerbie to Carstairs is the longest in Britain with no station.

Beattock is now 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.

Campaigners for the reopening of Beattock Station welcome railway franchise decision

The group campaigning for the reopening of Beattock Station has welcomed the announcement by the Scottish Transport Minister, Keith Brown, that the franchise to run Scotland’s railways for the next ten years will be awarded to Abellio. The Minister visited Beattock only two weeks ago, just prior to making his decision.

Abellio is a company backed by the Dutch State Railways, who have a commitment to community rail partnerships and integrated public transport across Europe. It was the first of the Scotrail franchise bidders to meet with the Beattock campaign group. Very early in the bidding process, Abellio sent a high-level delegation to meet at Beattock to listen to the group’s reasons for re-opening Beattock Station, which has  been closed since 1972.

Chairman of the Beattock Station Action Group, Martin Brown,  said “We are delighted to hear that Abellio has won the franchise to operate Scotland’s railways. All the bidders accepted our invitation to meet us but Abellio was by far the most enthusiastic in supporting our campaign and agreed to work with us should they be the preferred bidder.

“Whilst there can be no guarantees that Abellio Scotrail will run a service from Beattock in the short term, its track record in supporting rural public transport initiatives across Europe has given a major boost to our campaign. We look forward to working with the company.

“Once Beattock Station is reopened, then the local population will have the opportunity to commute to jobs in Glasgow or Edinburgh in just 45 minutes and tourists will be able to flock to this historic part of Scotland.”

Visit www.beattock.com also on facebook

Martin Brown Chairman 01683 300451

Transport Minister visits Beattock Station

The campaign to reopen Beattock Station has been boosted by a visit from Transport Minister Keith Brown.

The Minister visited the site on Wednesday 24 September, accompanied by representatives from SWestrans and Transport Scotland, to hear for himself why Beattock Station Action Group believes reopening the station is essential for the local community and the surrounding area.

Group Chairman Martin Brown said: “Moffat and Beattock are the hub of activity for travel, tourism and economic activity in central southern Scotland. The only thing we don’t have is a train that stops.

Reopening Beattock Station would greatly enhance rural regeneration, tourism, commerce and accessibility to the UK’s rail network.

We presented our business case to the Minister and outlined what we’ve done so far. He was very keen to hear why this means so much to the community and he was interested in exploring four potential routes, including Liverpool to Glasgow or Liverpool to Edinburgh.”

In response, Transport Minister Keith Brown said: “I was very impressed by the enthusiasm and organisation shown by Beattock Station Action Group.

The next step is for Dumfries & Galloway Council to carry out a Scottish Transport Appraisal Guidance report to assess the feasibility of reopening the station.”

In the same week, Beattock Station Action Group also met a senior manager from First Transpennine Express as part of its campaign strategy. It was an extremely positive meeting, resulting in a number of constructive ideas to help the campaign.

Harry Thomson, Head of Integrated Transport and Commissioning at Dumfries & Galloway Council and Lead Officer for the region’s transport partnership, SWestrans, said: “The reopening of Beattock Station remains an aspiration within the Regional Transport Strategy for the county.

SWestrans and Dumfries & Galloway Council have included Beattock Station as one of the potential projects for bid development for grant funding under the Scottish Stations Fund.”

To see the BBC coverage of Keith Brown’s visit, please click here

ENDS

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

To find out more about our work and how your donations will help reopen the station, please visit www.beattock.com or www.facebook.com/BeattockStationActionGroup and like our page.