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Action plan needed for Lockerbie trains

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By Fiona Reid
Lockerbie and Lochmaben
Action plan needed for Lockerbie trains

A PROPER improvement plan is needed to tackle continuing TransPennine rail issues from Lockerbie Station.

That’s the call to the UK Government this week from South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth and comes after news that the service has continued to deteriorate following the government’s decision to transfer the running of services to an operator of last resort on May 28.

Mr Smyth said: “This news won’t shock anyone.

“After years and years of terrible service under TransPennine, and utter inaction from the UK Government, passengers at Lockerbie are likely to suffer for some time to come as turning around this shambles won’t be easy.

“We have seen with LNER on the east coast that services do improve when brought under public control but it’s not enough for the Government to hand over the running to a new operator and then walk away.

“I have consistently said they need to have a proper improvement plan to tackle the short term chaos of constant cancellations we are currently seeing but in the medium and long term, increase services from Lockerbie.

“At the heart of that plan we need to see the new operators focus on passengers, not profits the way previous ones did.”

He recounted conversations with passengers this week waiting for trains at Lockerbie which were cancelled just minutes before arrival. He has also heard that there’s often not hot water on trains for drinks and added: “If companies can’t even get basic services like that correct, they have little chance of convincing people to use their trains.

“As someone who used TransPennine Express on a weekly basis I’ve seen passengers voting with their cars and abandoning the services at Lockerbie because they have been so bad and they won’t come back until things improve.

“We need to get people back on the train but that will only happen if the UK Government get a grip, put in place a proper improvement plan, that gets our trains running on time – and on some days just getting them running to and from Lockerbie at all would be an improvement.”

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