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FirstGroup loses ScotRail franchise to Abellio

The new 10-year franchise is set to come in at the start of April next year Credit: PA

The franchise to run Scotland's trains for the next decade has been awarded to Dutch rail operator Abellio, transport minister Keith Brown has confirmed.

The announcement comes after current Scotrail operator FirstGroup revealed it had failed in its bid to continue to run the rail service from the spring of 2015.

Mr Brown said Abellio will invest millions in providing an improved service and facilities for passengers and a better deal for staff.

The new contract includes benefits for passengers such as:

  • Free wifi on all trains
  • 23% more carriages across the network
  • Reduced fares for jobseekers
  • High-speed intercity diesel trains
  • Over a third more seats.

Customer service is on the right track at Carlisle station

Carlisle s Credit: ITV Border

One of the region's railway stations has picked up two national awards for excellence.

Staff at Carlisle Station were praised by customers, who voted the station one of the best in the country for dealing with passengers, particularly at times of travel disruption.

Carlisle beat off competition from sixteen other stations managed by Virgin Trains.


Galashiels roads diverted for new bridge

Road restrictions are predicted in Galashiels as a new bridge is built at Plumtreehall Brae. Credit: PA

Road restrictions are predicted in Galashiels as a new bridge is built at Plumtreehall Brae.

It is part of the Borders Railway project that will take place 30th May to 2nd June. It is expected that King Street will be closed during this time so that a 500 tonne crane can lift the 30 tonne bridge into place.

Once the bridge is in place, it is said that work will continue without disrupting traffic.

Motorists will be diverted via Windyknowes Road and Hall Street, while pedestrian and local access will be maintained

New Lake District rules for footpath users

Cyclists, walkers and horse riders in the Lake District will see a new code of conduct in place this summer. Credit: PA

Cyclists, walkers and horse riders in the Lake District will see a new code of conduct in place this summer.

The guide has been outlined by the Lake District National Park and encourages right of way for everyone using footpaths, bridleways and byways.

It states for example that horse riders should ride at no more than a trot and that cyclists should give way to walkers and horse riders.

Region's rail services disrupted by flooding

Train services across the region have been cancelled due to flooding.

The Northern Rail service is currently suspended between Carlisle and Maryport due to flooding at Aspatria, where the line is blocked.

Northern Rail are looking to source replacement buses, and there is no estimate for when normal services will resume.

There are also delays of up to 30 minutes on trains between Edinburgh Waverley and Carlisle due to flooding between Lockerbie and Carlisle.


Workington to Carlisle route to be opened today

the West coast line has been closed since Friday after high tides destroyed parts of the rails and wall between Siddick and Flimby

Engineers have been working 24 hours a day to get the line reopened. Network Rail hopes that will be working later this morning.

Around 50 workers have been working in 12 hour shifts to rebuild the wall and reinstate the track.

Martin Frobisher, Network Rail area director, said:

"We are very keen to get it running again as quickly as we can, but you can see the scale of the damage - it's a huge piece of work.

"When railways follow the sea so closely, for many it is an ongoing battle to maintain the sea defences.

"There is a huge amount of damage. We are working round the clock to reinstate the railway and our priority is get the services running again."

– Martin Frobisher, Network Rail

Services between Maryport and Barrow resumed on Monday but replacement buses are still in place between Workington and Carlisle.

More storms hit the region

Dozens of homes are still without power this evening after severe weather in West Cumbria damaged buildings and caused disruption on the roads.

The M6 Southbound was closed after a lorry overturned near Tebay and the A6 was blocked at Shap because of a fallen tree.

With more wind and rain expected, the emergency services are urging people to take care.

Katie Hunter reports:

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