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‘Cattle’ claim over rail passenger treatment

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By Fiona Reid
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‘Cattle’ claim over rail passenger treatment

‘LIKE CATTLE’ — that’s how Lockerbie rail passengers are being treated, says an MSP.

South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth has levelled that criticism against rail bosses at Transpennine Express and the UK Government.

His accusations come after receiving complaints about overcrowding on services to and from Edinburgh, during the festival.

The local MSP is furious that extra carriages have not been added routinely to services during the festival, despite a massive increase in passenger demand.

The increased number of complaints come at the same time the Manchester to Edinburgh service has been included on the list of the most overcrowded trains covering England and Wales, published in July by the UK Government.

Mr Smyth said: “I often receive complaints about services to and from Lockerbie, especially overcrowding, but the number has increased significantly during the festival.

“It is astonishing that TransPennine Express haven’t increased the number of carriages on services to and from Edinburgh during the festival.

“It isn’t as if they didn’t know about the festival.”

He added: “I have had some constituents who booked seats for carriages that didn’t even exist when the train arrived at Lockerbie because it wasn’t the promised eight carriage train but just four massively overcrowded carriages.

“I have had some passengers angry that staff tell people who are travelling from Edinburgh further south than Lockerbie that they will get a seat when the train gets to Lockerbie because so many people get off there. “But what about those who use the station at Lockerbie?

“They are being treated like cattle by the rail company and UK government, simply herded on and off overcrowded trains. It’s just not good enough.

“Transpennine Express say they will be buying new trains but these won’t start to be introduced into Lockerbie until 2019, well after parts of the rest of the country”.

In response, a spokesperson from TransPennine Express said they plan to introduce more carriages.

He said: “We know that our services, particularly at peak times can be very busy, and we will be introducing extra capacity across our network.

“We’re also introducing more services. From December 2017 we plan to introduce additional weekday evening, and additional Sunday services that will call at Lockerbie.”

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