Lockerbie to Edinburgh route changes “wholly inappropriate” for commuters

MSPs Joan McAlpine and Dr Aileen McLeod say that supposed improvements to the Lockerbie to Edinburgh rail route will leave those who commute to Edinburgh from the region worse off.


Ms McAlpine has written to the UK Secretary of State for Transport, Patrick McLoughlin, urging him to reconsider and come up with a better offer for the service.


Whilst the proposed changes have been greatly anticipated by commuters across the south west of Scotland in hope of a better service, the new timetable shows that improvements will be entirely focused on the Lockerbie to Glasgow Central Line.


The new plans mean by May 2014 it will be impossible for commuters to arrive in Edinburgh before 9.30 am on a direct service.


Ms McAlpine said:


“It is clear that these supposed improvements to the timetable are wholly inappropriate to meet the needs of commuters in the south-west who travel to Edinburgh for work.”


“From May next year there will no longer be a direct train that will arrive in Edinburgh before 09.30, meaning that even those who do not have to travel far once they arrive in Edinburgh will not arrive at work until nearly 10.00.”


“Whilst the current direct service is far from perfect, it is much appreciated by those who remember the indirect service which was previously the only option”.


Commuters to Edinburgh will also have to pay more for the privilege of a reduced service.


Ms McAlpine continued:


The most galling thing for many commuters is the disparity between the price of a season ticket to Edinburgh (£4516) and one to Glasgow (£3040).  This seems particularly insulting considering the fact that someone commuting to Edinburgh has to pay £1500 more and receives a lesser service.”


Dr McLeod has written to Scottish Transport Minister Keith Brown and regional transport partnership Swestrans, encouraging stakeholders to work together towards a swift solution.


Dr McLeod commented:


“I use the Edinburgh – Lockerbie service regularly and fully understand commuters concerns that the changes this December and next May are not going to improve things, and that travellers are going to have to pay a lot more for a season ticket than if they were travelling to Glasgow.


“I’ve contacted the Scottish Government’s Transport Minister, Keith Brown, to ask what level of inter-governmental co-operation there has been over use of the route, since responsibility for it is in fact still reserved to Westminster. I’d hope that a solution could be found which does provide direct services at times which enable people to commute easily between Dumfries & Galloway and Edinburgh.”