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Rail Services (Lockerbie)

Volume 491: debated on Wednesday 22 April 2009

The Petition of users of Lockerbie Station and others,

Declares the anger of users of Lockerbie Station at the 40 per cent cut in the number of rail services between Lockerbie and Glasgow or Edinburgh in the new time-table operational from December 2008; regrets the failure to provide the much promised early morning direct service to Edinburgh in that timetable; and notes the increased need to use connecting trains when travelling to or from the South.

The Petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons call upon the Secretary of State for Transport to, firstly, reconsider the recent cuts to the number of services serving Lockerbie and, secondly, to instigate the introduction of a ‘balanced’ timetable designed to meet the needs of Lockerbie station users, and specifically to allow commuters to travel from Lockerbie to and from Glasgow and Edinburgh at times suitable for the start and end of the normal working day and to allow return from Edinburgh and Glasgow late in the evening so that people in the South of Scotland can take advantage of evening entertainment in these cities.

And the Petitioners remain, etc.—[Presented by David Mundell, Official Report, 1 April 2009; Vol. 490, c. 1012.]


Observations from the Secretary of State for Transport:

The matter of rail services at Lockerbie in the December 2008 timetable was the subject of an Adjournment debate on 11 November 2008, Official Report, col. 744-750.

There has been extensive consultation about the new service patterns now operating on the West Coast Main Line. Those representing Scotland expressed strong support for the accelerated and more frequent links with London and Birmingham that are now in place.

The December 2008 timetable was designed to maximise the value of the £8.9 billion the Government have invested in the modernisation of the route, to better match resources with demand and to make best use of available assets. While some less popular journeys now take longer, the overwhelming majority of passengers benefit. And Lockerbie has not been left isolated, with trains calling on a broadly two hourly basis across the day and faster journeys to Manchester and London.

First Trans Pennine proposed to operate a Carlisle to Edinburgh commuter service. However they found that there was insufficient capacity on the approaches to Edinburgh and decided to provide an early morning Manchester to Edinburgh train instead. This train provides a new business service from Manchester and Preston and also calls at Lockerbie. The service is a development that makes better use of assets and one which I support.

The December 2008 timetable is now fully operational and performing well. The more frequent and faster services, with around 30 minutes shaved from a typical London to Glasgow journey, are performing well with encouraging demand growth. I therefore do not propose to make changes.