The South West Scotland Transport Study has been issued today, January the 29th 2020, by Transport Scotland. The key aim of this report is to consider the rationale for improvements to road, rail, public transport and active travel on key strategic corridors in the South West of Scotland, including those served by the A75, A76, A77, A701 and A709 as well as the railway corridors to Stranraer and Carlisle via Kilmarnock / Dumfries with a particular focus on access to the ports at Cairnryan.
The rail link from dumfries to Stranraer was closed in the 1960s When the Dr Beeching cuts were introduced. This created a reduction of route network and restructuring of the railways in Great Britain, according to a plan outlined in two reports, The Reshaping of British Railways (1963) and The Development of the Major Railway Trunk Routes (1965), written by Richard Beeching and published by the British Railways Board.
The South West Scotland Transport Study conatains a finalised report including ways to give Dumfries and Galloway better connectivity including the Dumfries to Stranraer line plan, new stations at Cumnock, Thornhill, Eastriggs, Dunragit and Beattock.
But It is not just the Railways the study is focusing on, it also includes a proposal about increasing the HGV speed limit to 50mph on the regions trunk road’s and enhancement on the A75, A76 and A77. But some of these options have already been ruled out.
Finlay Carson MSP Said
“This report sadly tells us nothing more than we already know. For the Scottish Government to have to produce this in order to point out the obvious just shows how out of touch they are with the South West!
“People across the South West are rightly sick and tired of waiting for real transport improvements to happen while more and more consultations are carried and reports published.
“Some of the option appraisals that are being taken forward do represent significant transport upgrades for the region, including a new rail link from Stranraer to Cairnryan, upgrading the A75, village bypasses, and increasing speed limits for HGV vehicles but they are all issues which I and others have been calling for for years!
“However, frustratingly, all that is going to happen is that these measures will go forward into another assessment process, which leaves me thinking that the Scottish Government and Transport Scotland are still kicking urgently needed transport infrastructure improvement plans into the long grass.
“Improvements to our roads such as the A75 and A77 and the rail network as well as connectivity to Cairnryan are long overdue, yet carrying out more assessments only tells my constituents that they won’t see any shovels on the ground anytime soon.
“I will continue to press the Scottish Transport Secretary to deliver the real transport upgrades the forgotten south-west corner needs and needs delivered now, not in five years time!”
“Today I have written to Michael Matteson to demand that a number of the options are progressed now without delay. There is no need to wait to introduce a pilot scheme into HGV speeds on A75 or any delay in developing the full business case for a new transport hub in Stranraer including the extension of the railway line to Cairnryan.
“We have previously seen work done to identify the route for bypassing Crocktford and Springholm.
Emma Harper MSP South Scotland said;
“I welcome the long awaited South West Scotland Transport Study published today (Tues 28 January). It is worth pointing out from the outset that South Scotland is the first area of Scotland to have a study of this kind which sets out different options for transport and infrastructure investments.
“Although the publication is welcome and has identified specific dualling improvements for both the A75 and A77, as well as improved and new rail services, I am still urging constituents to take up my call for the Parliament’s Rural Economy and Connectivity Committee to carry out an inquiry into South West Scotland’s transport infrastructure. The more focus on our region, from the parliament and both Scottish and UK Government’s, the better.
“I will be writing to the Cabinet Secretary to seek further clarity on the timescales for the next steps, and on when the wider STPR 2 is likely to be published so that we can start to see shovels in the ground improving our region’s road infrastructure which will attract people to Dumfries & Galloway, improve the lives of people living here and generally improve efficiency.
“We know the importance of South West transport infrastructure to the rural and wider economy – particularly for the movement of goods, services and people from Scotland, the UK, and Europe. Just yesterday I visited Cairnryan with the Culture, Tourism, Europe and External Affairs Committee – and I will put more info out about this soon.
“My door is always open to any constituent who would like an update on my work, or who would like to raise any concerns with me.”
Read the full Study HERE