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New train timetable criticised

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By Fiona Reid
Front
New train timetable criticised

“NOT good enough” - that’s the verdict on planned new train timetables for services from Lockerbie Station.

South Scotland Labour MSP Colin Smyth has criticised the schedules by Transpennine Express and Avanti West Coast and questioned whether the companies would be able to deliver the changes given their current track record of cancellations.

Both firms published their latest timetable last week, which will see some of the recently cut services re-instated during the week. Transpennine Express have added back the 9.32 am train to Glasgow and the 2.34 pm train to Edinburgh, as well as the 8.11 pm from Edinburgh to Lockerbie.

However, there is no sign of the late night service to Lockerbie from Edinburgh after 10 pm and the last train from Glasgow remains at 8.06 pm.

Furthermore, the services between Lockerbie and Carlisle at 12.10 pm and 7.25 pm will remain as a replacement bus.

Meanwhile, Avanti have added back services at 8.14 am, 6.14 pm and 10.11 pm to Glasgow from Lockerbie, but axed a previous service at 8.45 pm.

Despite the new timetables, the services will face considerable disruption in the new year with Network Rail major works on the West Coast Mainline at Carstairs from March 4 2023, which will close the route through Carstairs to Edinburgh and Glasgow for 16 days. In addition, there will be weekend closures on the line until May 2023.

Mr Smyth is also sceptical whether the companies will even deliver the new timetables, pointing to the existing service which is plagued by cancellations.

He highlighted new figures showing that in the past 12 weeks, services from Lockerbie station were just six stations away from being the worst in the country- sitting at 2618th out of 2624 stations on December 11.

And, more trains from the station were cancelled than ran on time, with 17 per cent not running and just 13 per cent on time.

Colin Smyth said: “Having campaigned for the reinstatement of the mid afternoon Transpennine Express service from Lockerbie to Edinburgh and the evening return service, I’m pleased they are back as well as a small number of services to Glasgow by Avanti Westcoast, but both companies’ new timetables are just not good enough.

“Once again passengers from Lockerbie are being treated as second class. The timetable is pretty much just a return to the last most recent inadequate timetables and even then, there are services missing, such as the late night train from the capital to Lockerbie.

“I will be pressing for more services when the timetable is revised again.”

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