'Great merit' in reopening Eastriggs, Thornhill and Beattock stations

image copyrightRob Newman
image captionBeattock station is one of the sites being considered for reopening

The head of a transport body has said there is "great merit" in plans costing up to £37m to reopen three disused stations in south west Scotland.

Andrew Wood chairs the South West Scotland Transport Partnership (Swestrans).

It has been looking at the potential of bringing the sites in Beattock, Thornhill and Eastriggs back into use.

It said a public consultation had found a "high level of interest and expectation" in the proposals.

image copyrightBen Brooksbank
image captionA study will examine the potential for trains stopping at Eastriggs again

A previous study has found that reopening the three stations in Dumfries and Galloway could cost up to £37m.

Now consultants have been carrying out further investigations into the potential of the plans with a full report due out in May.

Mr Wood said he believed there was a strong case for all of the sites.

"All three of them have great merit and I think that they would be a real benefit to our region," he said.

"The reason we are keen to see them opened up is that it would help to support the local economy.

"It would give people the opportunity to connect with the central belt and also south going down to Carlisle and Penrith, etc, where you get a better wage and a better selection of job opportunities."

image copyrightDarrin Antrobus
image captionThornhill station is the third of the disused stations being looked at

The next step in the process will be for consultants to bring back their findings later this year.

"We would hope very much to have a concluding report coming to the board in our May board meeting," said Mr Wood.

"All action groups and those interested will be there and will hear what our consultants have brought forward.

"I would be surprised if it is not a very positive and comprehensive report."

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