South Scotland Labour MSP Colin Smyth has said planned new timetables by Transpennine Express and Avanti West Coast for services from Lockerbie Station are “not good enough” and questioned whether the companies would be able to deliver the changes given their current track record of cancellations.

The companies published their latest timetable last week, which will see some of the recently cuts services re-instated during the week. Transpennine Express have added back the 9.32 am train to Glasgow and the 2.34 pm train to Edinburgh. The new return timetable will see the re-instatement of the 8.11 pm from Edinburgh to Lockerbie. However, there is no sign of the return of the late night service to Lockerbie from Edinburgh after 10 pm and the last train from Glasgow remains at 8.06 pm. The services between Lockerbie and Carlisle at 12.10 pm and 7.25 pm will remain as a replacement bus and no new services are planned including an early morning direct service that gets passengers into Edinburgh by 9 am.

Avanti have added back services at 8.14 am, 6.14 pm and 10.11 pm to Glasgow from Lockerbie but axed a previous service at 8.45 pm.

Despite the new timetables, the services will face considerable disruption in the new year. Network Rail major works on the West Coast Mainline at Carstairs from 4 March 2023 will close the route through Carstairs to Edinburgh and Glasgow for the first 16 days of works, with the route to Edinburgh then only available midweek with weekend closures on the line until May 2023. The first week of the new timetables will also see massive disruption. Industrial action is set to take place on 13/14 December then again 16/17 December.

Colin Smyth is also sceptical whether the companies will even deliver the new timetables, pointing to the failure to provide the existing service which is plagued by cancellations. Recent figures reveal that in the past 12 weeks, services from Lockerbie station where just six stations away from being the worst in the country- sitting at 2,618th out of 2,624 stations on 11 December. The figures showed more trains from the station were cancelled than ran on time, with 17% not running and just 13% of trains running on time.

Coin Smyth said: “Having campaigned for the reinstatement of the mid afternoon Transpennine Express service from Lockerbie to Edinburgh and the evening return service, I’m pleased they are back as well as a small number of services to Glasgow by Avanti Westcoast but both companies’ new timetables are just not good enough.

“Once again passengers from Lockerbie are being treated as second class. The timetable is pretty much just a return to the last most recent inadequate timetables and even then, there are services missing such as the late night train from the capital to Lockerbie.

“I will be pressing for more services when the timetable is revised again, although instead of the normal revision in March, this will delayed until May due to work on the west coast mainline which in itself will cause huge disruption.

“Whatever the timetable, most people simply don’t trust Transpennine Express or Avanti Westcoast to run services whatever dates the Government allows them to.”


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