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MSP blasts rise in Annan-Carlisle rail fares

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By Rod Edgar
Annan and Eskdale
MSP blasts rise in Annan-Carlisle rail fares

A CALL to rethink a doubling of rail fares for Annan to Carlisle commuters has won more political backing.

Dumfriesshire MSP Elaine Murray has waded into the row after ScotRail moved the 8 am service two minutes earlier to a peak time of 7.58 am, resulting in a day return ticket rising in price from £5.10 to £10.40.
Dr Murray said: “This leap in train fares is simply not on.
“The service is used by commuters living in Annan and working in Carlisle, and just seems like a charge on hard working people.”
Campaigners have noted that fares had rocketed twice before when times were altered — but that on both previous occasions the move was reversed in the face of a public backlash.
And noting that Dutch operator which won the franchise to run ScotRail services last year, Dr Murray said: “You would have thought that Abellio would have learned from the mistakes of their predecessors, who also tried to implement a timetable change resulting in fare increases, which failed after successful local campaigns.”
Joining MP David Mundell in writing to ScotRail bosses, she added: “In my view Abellio should switch back to operating under the old timetable as soon as possible.”
ScotRail last week stated the train time was changed to help ‘improve performance and punctuality’, and to allow ‘better interactions with other trains using this section of track’.
However, campaigner Jamie Grant said: “If you check Carlisle departures after 8 am you see no other service anywhere near 8.20 am, apart from the Hexham train which of course is the same train which left Annan.”
Explaining the improvements, a ScotRail spokesman said: “Retiming this service has cut the journey time between Dumfries and Carlisle by two minutes.
“This means it reaches Gretna Junction earlier and is less likely to be delayed while other trains are signalled through this busy junction.
“This delivers a more reliable service for our customers.”
And addressing letters to ScotRail bosses, he added: “We are continuing to review options and will update our customers in due course.”

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