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No trains at Lockerbie but fares rise

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By Fiona Reid
Lockerbie and Lochmaben
No trains at Lockerbie but fares rise

RAIL passengers at Lockerbie station will see the cost of fares rocket this week — although no trains are running from there until March 19.

Fares set by the UK Government, including the Transpennine Express and Avanti franchises that run through Lockerbie on the West Coast Mainline, rose this week by 5.9 per cent.

However, no trains will run on the West Coast Main Line for the next 16 days as part of a major overhaul at Carstairs junction. Replacements buses that take two hours to connect Lockerbie to Glasgow and Edinburgh will run instead during that period.

The closure of the rail route from March 4-19 is the first phase of a three-month programme of work.

Phase two from March 20 to April 21 will see part of the junction reopening to allow some trains to run directly on weekdays to Edinburgh and via diversion routes to Glasgow but with longer journey times.

The final phase – from April 22 to June 4 – will see most services return to normal during weekdays with the junction fully closed each weekend.

Commenting, South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth said, “This is the biggest hike in rail fares for 11 years at a time local people are being hammered by eye watering increases in energy bills and council tax.

“Long suffering passengers from Lockerbie will think this fare hike is a sick joke giving how utterly woeful services are.

“We have seen passenger numbers plummet at Lockerbie station because the service is unreliable, and this increase will simply mean fewer people using the train.

“It’s ironic that the increase comes at a time there won’t be any trains for the next few weeks due to work on the track.

“While investment on the Carstairs junction is needed, and will mean an end to current slow speed limit, there doesn’t seem to be any plans to reduce travel times for services which is very disappointing.”

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