South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth has said MP David Mundell must “get off the fence” and fully back calls to end the Transpennine Express rail franchise.


Figures released recently show that in a four week period, Transpennine Express, which runs trains from Lockerbie Station, cancelled 1,048 trains before 22:30 GMT on the day before they were due to run, and part of the route on a further 312.


The number of cancellations it made in this way far outstripped any other rail operator in the four weeks to 4 February.


David Mundell raised the issue with the Prime Minister at Westminster and called for action to improve the service. However, despite years of poor service, the UK Government signed a deal in May 2021 allowing Transpennine Express to run services until May 2023, with the option of a further two years until May 2025. Colin Smyth has now challenged a David Mundell to publicly back his campaign to scrap the failed franchise when the extension is considered in May and bring services under public ownership.


Labour has called for Transpennine Express to be stripped of the franchise, a call that has been backed by some Conservative MPs in other parts of the country, however so far David Mundell has remained silent on the future of the service. 


Colin Smyth said: “Passengers from Lockerbie have been suffering terrible services for years thanks to this failed franchise and it’s time it was removed.


“Despite this, Tory MP David Mundell supported his Government’s decision to reward failure when they handed Transpennine Express a new contract in 2021 running to May 2023, with the option to extend it to May 2025. There is no point Mr Mundell wringing his hands over the shocking service he has supported for years. He needs to get off the fence now and fully back my call to end the franchise, not extend it from May.


“The time for Transpennine ‘raising their game’ is long past, what we need now is action. Other MPs in other parts of the country have supported calls to end the franchise, why is Mr Mundell failing to do so?


“Passengers travelling from Lockerbie deserve better; they need a local train service that they can rely on but until changes are made, this won’t happen and can’t happen under the company who have failed so badly.”


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