South Scotland MSP and Scottish Labour’s Transport Spokesperson Colin Smyth has called on First Group to commit to improving services for passengers at Lockerbie Railway Station following the announcement that the company is taking over the running of the West Coast mainline train route from December.
Along with Italian stated owned firm Trenitalia, FirstGroup replaces Virgin Trains, which was barred from bidding to keep the route to run trains from London Euston to Glasgow. At present only, a fraction of services stop at Lockerbie Station and Colin Smyth has written to the Chief Executive of First Group Matthew Gregory to urge the firm to commit to increasing that number. He has also called on Mr Gregory to commit First Group to making a contribution towards the cost of increasing car parking at the station.
Colin Smyth has been campaigning for better services at Lockerbie Train Station since his election in 2016.
Colin Smyth said, “The franchise announcement today which will see FirstGroup and Trenitalia run the West Coast mainline is a huge missed opportunity for the services to be brought back under public control. By returning our railways to public ownership would see profits re-invested in services and rail infrastructure which would improve services from Lockerbie, not taken out of our services for private profits.
I have written to the Chief Executive of FirstGroup to urge the new franchise to increase the number of services from Lockerbie. At present more West Coast Mainline services between London and Glasgow pass through Lockerbie Station without stopping than actually stop and that is a disgrace. More and more passengers want to use Lockerbie Station yet the private rail companies aren’t delivering the services people want. First Group have said they will increase services on the line from Motherwell but they need to do the same from Lockerbie. I have also urged the company to contribute to the cost of increasing parking at Lockerbie Train Station. It is train operators who benefit from the passengers who use the station and any increased parking, so they should shoulder some of the cost and not leave it all to the local council taxpayer.”