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Railway to shut for vital upgrade work

Section:  Annan and Eskdale, Dumfries and West  | Tags: , , , , , , ,

A NINE-DAY closure of the railway line running through Dumfries is planned as part of multi-million pound upgrades.

Railway weeds

But as a replacement bus service is set up, a call is now being made for a similar investment in the rolling stock on the Nith Valley Line — described as some of the oldest in the country.

Scotrail Alliance head of maintenance delivery Lindsay Saddler said: “The work we are undertaking is vital for the long-term future reliability of the line and part of our commitment to delivering the best railway Scotland has ever had.”

Engineers will be working ‘around-the-clock’ on the Kilmarnock to Carlisle from this Saturday until Sunday July 23.

Over four miles of track will be renewed, including north of Dumfries.

And bridgeworks will take place at Annan Viaduct where specialists have been working since May to carry out masonry repairs and strengthening works.

However, regular passenger Jamie Grant from Annan said: “I just wish they’d invest in the rolling stock, which I gather is some of the oldest they’ve got in the country. To me, it’s the actual rolling stock that’s more of a concern than the state of the line.”

He added: “In December last year we took a trip up to Glasgow and the train had no heating for the entire journey, and it was absolutely freezing. We complained to the guard and he said he was sorry but the heaters didn’t work due to the age of the trains.”

Carol Hope is a frequent rail user, and agrees with Jamie’s concern about the age of the trains.

She said: “Sometimes I think we should be out pushing the train — it sounds so terrible.”

Welcoming the investment on the line, she added: “It’s okay as long as the bus turns up on time — at the time the train is supposed to turn up.”

Additional track works will also be delivered on Sundays into August, with buses replacing trains between Kilmarnock and Dumfries on July 30 and August 6, 13, 20 and 27.

Addressing the condition of the trains, a spokesman for Network Rail points to a £15 million upgrade programme being carried out to repaint, reupholster, fit power sockets and introduce new improved toilets on trains running on the line.

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