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Standing room only

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By Fiona Reid
Lockerbie and Lochmaben
Standing room only

RAIL passengers have reported chaos on trains stopping at Lockerbie last weekend.

There was overcrowding on three different Transpennine services on Saturday, leaving dozens standing and no seats available.

And the situation on Saturday’s 12.26 pm to Edinburgh was so bad that passengers could not even board the train and were left on the platform.

South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth was one of those affected on the day and said: “I had the misfortune of being on the 10.32am TransPennine train to Edinburgh and it was completely packed by the time it reached Lockerbie.

“Not only were there no seats on later services, but I’ve received complaints from constituents forced to abandon their journey altogether because they physically couldn’t get on the train even to stand.

“One person told me that while she managed to get on the 12.26 pm train, her friend was left on the platform and the train was so busy the person on the train couldn’t get off before the doors closed, leaving her to travel up to Edinburgh alone.”

He described it as “appalling and very stressful” for all involved, adding: “It was complete chaos and proof that once again, passengers at Lockerbie are being treated like second class citizens by the train companies.

“There were possible solutions to meet any increased demand, but there is no joined up thinking between the rail firms and it is completely unacceptable.”

The MSP is concerned it signals a “return to the old normal” on train services from Lockerbie and has accused rail firms of treating passengers travelling from the station as “second class”.

It is understood that there was increased demand on the West Coast mainline on Saturday due to upgrading work being carried out on the East Coast mainline.

However, Mr Smyth believes Transpennine Express should have put on extra carriages or services and Avanti West Coast should have arranged for their services running from Birmingham to Edinburgh, which pass through Lockerbie every two hours, to stop at the station.

The politician added: “Covid restrictions have eased and many people are travelling on our railways once again but the last thing we want is to return to the pre-pandemic situation where journeys like this were the norm. But sadly it does look as if we are seeing a return to the old normal when it comes to the woeful services from Lockerbie.”

Transpennine Express were invited to comment.

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