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Rail fare fury as costs double

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By Fiona Reid
Annan and Eskdale
Rail fare fury as costs double

RAIL commuters from Annan to Carlisle have seen their fares more than double — thanks to a two-minute change in a train time.

Scotrail have moved the 8 am service to 7.58 am, which puts it into the peak period and means the cost of a day return to Carlisle has rocketed from £5.10 to £10.40.
Annan man Jamie Grant, 57, said: “It’s scandalous what they’ve done.”
Having successfully campaigned for Scotrail to reverse a similar move twice before, he added: “The train has been getting busier and busier.
“It’s been well used, the 8 am train, with a lot of people using it for commuting.
“With climate change and all of us should be trying to cut back. But doing what they’ve done, they’re driving people back onto the road — it’s just insane.”
Jamie no longer uses the service to commute to his job in Carlisle, but he says passenger numbers have dwindled since the change took effect on December 13.
With many travellers only learning of the change after the Christmas holidays and flooding which closed the line, Jamie said: “It’s totally disgusting, and they’ve done this twice in the past.”
Pensioner Carol Hope lives near the station in Annan, and uses the 8 am service three times a week to travel to Carlisle.
She said: “I don’t know what the reason is for the two minutes, given it only comes from Dumfries and now terminates in Carlisle.”
And Carol, who doesn’t drive, added: “I’ve noticed a big difference in the number of people at the station. There’d normally be about 14 or 15 getting on the train, and the last time I used it there’d be about three.”
The time change has also affected commuters from Dumfries to Carlisle, who could previously buy a ‘hybrid’ ticket reflecting the fall in fare after 8 am, after which it reached Annan.
Dumfriesshire MP David Mundell has previously taken up the case when Scotrail twice before moved the service into peak territory.
Mr Mundell described the latest move as ‘very disappointing’ and said: “This is an issue which has been rightly raised by constituents who rely on this service on a daily basis, and I have written to rail bosses seeking a change of policy on this service to enable passengers to enjoy the previous reasonable fares which they had been used to.”
Responding, a ScotRail spokesman said: “The 7.58 am Annan-Carlisle service was slightly retimed in December to help improve performance and punctuality.
“Moving the departure time at Annan two minutes forward has allowed better ‘interactions’ with other trains using this section of track.”
He added: “We are grateful to those who have been in touch this week about the resulting change to the day return fare.
“We are currently working with industry partners to review options and will update in due course.”

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