Dumfriesshire MSP Elaine Murray has this week written to the Managing Director of Abellio's Scotrail franchise, Phil Verster, calling for a revert back to the previous timetable of the morning Scotrail service from Dumfries to Newcastle, following complaints from her constituents’ that the train fare from Annan to Carlisle has more than doubled.
Following the timetable change last month, the service now calls at Annan at 7.58am rather than 8am, resulting in the original £5.10 price of a day return ticket from Annan to Carlisle rising to £10.40 as it is now considered to be a peak period service.
Dumfriesshire MSP Elaine Murray said:
“This leap in train fares is simply not on. The service is used by commuters living in Annan and working in Carlisle, and just seems like a charge on hard working people. You would have thought that Abellio would have learned from the mistakes of their predecessors, who also tried to implement a timetable change resulting in fare increases, which failed after successful local campaigns. In my view Abellio should switch back to operating under the old timetable as soon as possible.”
NOTES TO THE EDITOR:
Letter sent from Elaine Murray MSP to Phil Verster:
Dear Mr Verster
I understand from constituents that the timetable of the morning Scotrail service from Dumfries to Newcastle was altered last month and as a result now calls at Annan ay 7.58 rather than 8am. Because of this change, the price of a day return ticket from Annan to Carlisle has risen from £5.10 to £10.40 as it is now considered to be a peak period service. This train is used by commuters from Annan working in Carlisle, who would now have to pay an additional £26.50 to get to work. I have been advised that the numbers of passengers using the train to travel to Carlisle has fallen substantially since the increase took place.
I understand from the local media that the reason given by Scotrail for this change is to provide “better interactions” with other trains using this section of track. However I have also been advised that the previous service waited at Carlisle for several minutes so presumably connections with other trains at Carlisle were not the issue, and am uncertain what other trains would be “interacting” with this service as the track was dualled some years ago.
I am advised that your predecessors twice tried to reschedule the service in order to increase fares but reverted to the original timetable after a successful campaign, and hope that Abellio will similarly reverse this timetable change.
I look forward to your reply and have copied this email to the Transport Minister for his information
MSP for Dumfriesshire