Colin Smyth MSP
South Scotland MSP and Scottish Labour’s Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Rural Economy, Connectivity and Transport has accused ScotRail bosses and the Scottish Government of ignoring South West Scotland in planned new timetable changes.
ScotRail yesterday (1 October) hailed the new timetables as a “another milestone” in service improvements and SNP Transport Secretary Michael Matheson said the changes would deliver “an improved experience for passengers”. However, the changes only cover the Central Belt and North of Scotland, with NO planned additional services in South West Scotland.
Colin Smyth said, “Once again the South West is the forgotten part of Scotland in the eyes of rail bosses and the SNP Government. To hail these new timetables as a milestone when a huge part of Scotland, which has the worst services, has been completely ignored, is a real insult to long suffering rail passengers in the area.
We have actually seen services on the Nith Valley line cut recently with many direct services to Newcastle axed. There remains a huge three-hour gap between 9 am and lunchtime when there are no services whatsoever from Dumfries north through Upper Nithsdale, New Cumnock and Auchinleck to Glasgow.
Commuters in Stranraer who have witnessed direct services to Glasgow reduced in recent years and who currently don’t have any services to and from Ayr or Glasgow will rightly be angered by the statements from ScotRail and the Scottish Government. With the current chaos in Ayr Station as a result of the failure to act on warnings over the state of the former Ayr Station Hotel, the services in the area are far from a milestone in improvements
There remain no direct services between Kilmarnock and Edinburgh and only a limited number of direct trains from Ayr to our capital.
These new timetables were a chance to boost services for people living in the south west, but ScotRail and the Scottish Government have failed miserably and continue to ignore the area. When they claim they are building the best railway Scotland has ever had, they obviously don’t think our area is part of Scotland anymore.”