South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth has stepped up his campaign for better rail services from Lockerbie railway station.
The local MSP will be questioning Scottish Transport Minister Humza Yousaf on the issue in the Scottish Parliament next week during Rural Economy questions (Wednesday 20 December from 2pm) and will call on the Scottish Government to join him in lobbying the UK Government to increase services from Lockerbie. The rail franchise- which spells out the minimum level of service on the two routes that go through Lockerbie – is awarded by the UK Government who have the power to demand certain services.
The call comes as a new timetable from Transpennine Express from this week again fails to provide a direct early morning service to Edinburgh and continues to fail to deliver any services from Lockerbie to Edinburgh between 10am and 2.30pm despite. The local MSP has also received a growing number of complaints from passengers about overcrowding on services in the run up to Christmas.
Colin Smyth said, “The buck for the poor services from Lockerbie rests with the UK Government. It is the franchises they awarded to the train companies that means more trains pass through Lockerbie station without stopping than do stop, which is just crazy. Even the new 10.15 pm train from Edinburgh to Lockerbie, although welcome, has simply been added by the company because they know they will boost profits by running a train from Edinburgh to Manchester Airport to allow people to get early morning flights. That’s why it is likely to move to 11.15pm from Edinburgh soon”.
“What people travelling form Lockerbie really want is a direct early morning service to Edinburgh, an end to the gap of more than three hours where there isn’t a single train to Edinburgh that stops at Lockerbie and decent sized carriages that stops the current overcrowding. Lockerbie’s passengers are sick and tired of being treated like second class passengers. The UK Government has the power to do something about it but has refused to act. They can change the totally inadequate franchise they awarded and insist on more services stopping in Lockerbie. I will be raising the issue with the Scottish Government to get their support in my campaign calling on the UK Government to improve services.”