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MSP Colin Smyth says new ScotRail services don't deliver on promises

The local MSP says he is disappointed that there is only one extra train from Dumfries to Glasgow Photo: ITV Border

Colin Smyth has welcomed new rail services between Dumfries and Carlisle but criticised ScotRail for failing to deliver on promises.

The South Scotland MSP claims ScotRail failed to deliver the full improvements to the Nith Valley rail line.

The improvements are said to have been promised by new franchise owners Abellio, when they were awarded the franchise in 2014.

The local MSP says he is disappointed that there is only one extra train from Dumfries to Glasgow in the new planned timetable.

He adds that there are no further planned extra services for passengers travelling north of Dumfries, despite pledges of additional services.

These include a commitment to end two three-hour gaps that exist between services travelling in each direction.

He claims a promised ‘bike hire’ scheme at Dumfries station has also failed to materialise.

Colin Smyth commented:

The new services between Dumfries and Carlisle are welcome but given that over 500 people a day travel between Dumfries and Carlisle by rail, this is driven by growing demand and profit.

The rest of the route has been completely ignored, despite clear promises given by Abellio when they got the franchise.

There isn’t a single meaningful new service from ScotRail on the Nith Valley line north of Dumfries.

One extra train at 5.13am in the morning from Dumfries to Glasgow, when there is already one at 5.46am, is utterly meaningless.

Communities in Mid and Upper Nithdale- where there is a desperate need to improve transport links- have been forgotten by ScotRail.

Anyone travelling to Dumfries in the morning from Kirkconnel or Sanqhuar for employment or education can’t get there before 9am and there will still be three hour gaps in the service between Dumfries and Glasgow.

ScotRail claim they are building the best railway the country has ever had, for all of Scotland. That must mean they don’t know mid and upper Nithsdale exists.”

– Colin Smyth MSP

Commenting on the new service, the ScotRail Alliance Managing Director said:

We are building the best railway this country has ever had - and that applies to all of Scotland.

The major investment we are making will mean more services and more seats in the south of Scotland.

It will also help to grow the economy in this part of the country, which makes it an exciting time for everybody in the area.

We've listened to feedback and made positive changes for commuters, business travellers and tourists looking to get out and about across this great country.

More regular trains mean more seats and more choice, providing greater flexibility for trips to Glasgow and better connection with trains to London."

– ALEX HYNES, MANAGING DIRECTOR, SCOTRAIL ALLIANCE