South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth has slammed a plan by Transpennine Express to cut direct rail services to Lockerbie from Edinburgh from September 12 after the rail firm announced another temporary amended timetable.
Transpennine has said the new timetable is to be introduced in a bid to provide “greater stability and certainty” for passengers following months of short notice cancellations.
The new timetable means a number of services will be replaced with buses, including the 20.11 Edinburgh to Lockerbie (bus replacement at 20.15 which will take 2 hours 10 minutes compared to the current rail service which takes 1 hour). The change means the last train back from the capital will be 18.11- compared to 22.15 prior to the pandemic.
South Scotland MSP and Scottish Labour’s Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Net Zero, Energy & Transport & Rural Affairs Colin Smyth said: “After years of lockdowns due to the pandemic, people are trying to get back to some kind of normal and for many, that means using our trains for work, education or leisure.
“It is also totally understandable that many would rather use public transport instead of driving, especially in this time of rocketing fuel costs.
“In recent months, train passengers at Lockerbie have been facing near constant disruptions, bus replacements and cancellations.
“Those of us who regularly travel from Lockerbie have sadly grown used to this but more and more of my constituents are telling me that they are being forced to drive up to Edinburgh or Glasgow, or cancel their journey entirely.
“It is shocking that people travelling from Lockerbie cannot rely on the trains to get them to their destination or if they make it, they aren’t able to rely on being able to get a train home.
“The current timetable is already woeful with fewer services than prior to the pandemic. But the fact Transpennine plan to make it even worse with the last train from Edinburgh at 6.11 pm is shocking. We used to have a train from Edinburgh just after 10 pm but now it will be four hours earlier which shows once again the utter contempt for Lockerbie passengers from Transpennine.”