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Mundell launches cross border timetable

Secretary of State for Scotland, David Mundell, with David Horne & Martin Griffiths at the launch of Virgin Trains' new cross-border timetable Credit: Virgin Trains

Secretary of State for Scotland David Mundell, launched the new cross-border timetable in Edinburgh this morning.

The new timetable runs 42 additional services from Edinburgh to London every week.

Mr Mundell highlighted that the Scottish Borders railway will only be extended to Carlisle, if the Scottish Government, local authorities, Network Rail and the UK Government work together.

Obviously if the Border's railway extends, it will be in both Scotland and England. I think it's important that the UK government works closely with the Scottish government to look at the feasibility of this project.

I think it could have a transformational effect in the South of Scotland. I think it could take a lot of freight off the road. I think it could bring more people in to communities like Hawick. I think it's a very good idea.

– David Mundell, Secretary of State for Scotland and Dumfriesshire MP

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Rail delays due to high winds

Network Rail are urging passengers in the Border region to check before they travel, as Storm Henry approaches Britain.

The wind is expected to strengthen overnight with gusts up to 70mph.

Journeys may be delayed by the 50mph speed limits in place on the Settle - Carlisle railway between Settle and Appleby, the Cumbrian coast line and the West Coast mainline between Garstang and Tebay.

As always, our advice to passengers is to check before you travel, using National Rail Enquiries for the latest information. With even more rain predicted to fall on already saturated ground, there is the potential for localised flooding, as well as possible damage from high winds which may cause disruption to passengers planning to travel."

– Network Rail spokesperson

Train passengers advised to 'check before you travel'

Credit: Network Rail

Network Rail has advised train passengers to check before they travel as the Border region braces for the arrival of Storm Gertrude.

Forecasters are predicting winds to strengthen and rain to move in this evening, with up to 70mph winds. The severe weather is predicted to continue throughout the weekend and into early next week.

Cautionary speed restrictions of 50mph will be in place on Friday morning on the West Coast main line between Tebay and Oxenholme. Restrictions will also be in place between Settle and Carlisle.

We are drafting in additional teams in preparation for Storm Gertrude’s arrival and our advice to passengers is to check before you travel, using nationalrail.co.uk. With a lot of rain falling on already saturated ground, there is the potential for localised flooding which may cause disruption for passengers."

– Network Rail spokesperson

Rail services affected by Storm Frank

First TransPennine Express services to Scotland have been cancelled today (Thursday 31 December).

A viaduct at Lamington, north of Carlisle, has been seriously damaged, meaning no services will run past Carlisle.

Customers travelling to Scotland from Manchester are being asked to use the East Coast Main Line.

For more service updates, visit First TransPennine Express website.

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Pupils spray poppies to remember train crash dead

Leith Academy pupils spraying poppies Credit: ITV Border

Pupils from Leith Academy have been spraying poppies onto the pavement, to commemorate the 1915 Quintinshill disaster.

A train carrying hundreds of soldiers, many of them from the Leith Battalion of Royal Scots, crashed into a passenger service near to Gretna. It's remembered as the worst rail crash in Britain's history.

Cumbria's rail network 'not fit for purpose'

The council has called for improved services Credit: ITV Border

Cumbria County Council is urging the Government to address "years of underfunding" in Cumbria’s rail network.

Tenders will go out later this month to run the Northern and TransPennine Express franchises from February 2016.

The council's calls for an improved service in the new franchises include:

  • greater frequency and capacity of passenger services on the Cumbrian Coast Line
  • an increase in the number of direct services to Manchester International Airport from Barrow, Windermere and from the Anglo-Scottish route
  • Increase in the frequency of trains on the Tyne Valley Line between Carlisle and Newcastle so that there is a half hourly service

The council has criticised the current franchise, saying that it is 'not fit for purpose' in some areas.

“We are on the cusp of seeing what exactly we’re going to get in our rail services for the next decade. We have been lobbying hard for improvements and telling Government we need to see ambition, incentives for growth and flexibility in those tenders.

"The last franchises awarded in 2004, locked us into a poor quality service which did nothing to encourage investment and could not cope with the growth in passenger numbers. The result is a rail network which in some areas is not fit for purpose compared with other networks across the country,”

– Cllr Keith Little

£16m funding sparks upgrade for Windermere rail

The Government has announced a £16 million investment to electrify the Windermere rail line in the Lake District.

The 10 mile branch line links the National Park to the west coast main line at Oxenholme. It will be upgraded to allow electric trains to run on the route for the first time.

Ministers says it will create a faster, more reliable and greener service. Tim Backshall reports

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