Greens want a rail revolution

A new £22bn rail modernisation programme for Scotland would bring huge benefits for Dumfries and Galloway, the Scottish Greens have said.

Tuesday, 19th January 2021, 2:59 pm
The Dumfries to Stranraer line has been closed for decades

The Rail for All programme should be a central part of the region’s green recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic, according to the party’s South of Scotland list candidate Laura Moodie.

This she believes will create thousands of jobs whilst delivering infrastructure that is essential to tackling the climate emergency and supporting long-term economic prosperity.

Among the proposals that will benefit Dumfries and Galloway are:

Upgrades to the Glasgow and South Western (GSW) secondary main line from Glasgow to Carlisle via Kilmarnock and Dumfries will allow 100mph running speeds, as well as opening a long-campaigned-for new station at Thornhill which will boost capacity.

Plans to improve the West Coast Mainline near Carstairs will increase capacity and speed for trains from Lockerbie.

Upgrades to the antiquated Girvan to Stranraer line, which still uses traditional physical tokens for signalling, suffers from low speeds, and is unable to carry heavier freight trains.

Locally, the Scottish Green Party also continues to support plans for the re-opening of the Dumfries-Stranraer line and believe the proposals to investiage rail connections for every community over 5,000 could assist this.

Ms Moodie said: “The Scottish Greens are proposing the biggest rail investment programme Scotland has ever seen. Our fully-costed £22bn plan would transform Scotland’s railway, building a modern, zero-carbon network that is affordable and accessible to all.

“Rail for All is about making rail the natural choice for every journey - be it commuting, travelling for business or leisure. The report is clear that this will also boost Scotland’s economy; creating 14,000 good, unionised jobs and delivering £1.6bn of benefits for every £1bn spent.

“The investment would also be a central component of Scotland’s green recovery from Covid-19, creating thousands of quality, unionised jobs whilst delivering the infrastructure so necessary to tackle the climate emergency.

“The plans will herald a new golden age for rail across Dumfries and Galloway and beyond.”