Plan to restore rail links to Galloway

Trains calling soon at Castle Douglas, Newton Stewart, Kirkcudbright and Cairnryan?
Trains calling soon at Castle Douglas, Newton Stewart, Kirkcudbright and Cairnryan?

Galloway, like much of rural Scotland, had its network of local stations devastated during the notorious Beeching cuts of the 1960s.

Now a blueprint for the future of rail services in Scotland proposes restoring many of these stations and services which disappeared over half a century ago.

The transport ‘think-tank’ Railfuture Scotland argues that there is now an economic and environmental argument for opening or re-opening 90 stations and creating or re-creating more than 20 new lines throughout the country.

If this rail revolution does take place, Galloway will emerge a major winner.

The area is currently served by a link between Ayr and Stranraer and even this became less useful to the Galloway ecomomy when the Stena Line moved its services from Stranraer to Cairnryan seven years ago.

Railfuture wants a full restoration of a direct Dumfries to Stranraer route which would continue on to serve Cairnryan, a port expected to become busier post-Brexit, carrying much of Irish-Scottish goods and passengers.

Along that line the stations would be restored at Castle Douglas and Newton Stewart and a ‘spur’ line would see rail services restored to Kirkcudbright.

Of course, the Railfuture plans would cost a considerable amount of money to turn into a reality. Veteran members of the rail lobby have reflected on the fact that entire lines closed in the Sixties to save a few millions would now cost and estimated £10m a MILE to restore.