Commuters face travel chaos as rail service is axed
WEST FIFE rail passengers face travel chaos when a vital early morning train service is axed this Sunday.
Labour MSPs Helen Eadie and Claire Baker claimed that the withdrawal of the key service - which may be reintroduced next May - will cause havoc for scores of rail passengers.
Scotrail has decided to scrap the key 7.54am service from Kirkcaldy to Edinburgh which calls at Aberdour, Dalgety Bay and Inverkeithing.
The withdrawal of the service will mean that, for example, many commuters in Dalgety Bay would get no trains between 7.45am and 8.26am, meaning that either their children would have to go to nursery or school at 7.30am or commuters arriving later for work in Edinburgh.
Scotrail managers confirmed that they were looking at ways to restore a service over the key commuter time but said it was not a simple process and other trains would have to be moved.
Helen Eadie, Labour MSP for Cowdenbeath, said, "This simply isn't good enough.
"Commuters will now face six months of no service between key times and the knock-on effect for working families will be awful.
"Scotrail are now looking at rejigging the timetable and I welcome that but I know that people will be very unhappy.
"I have had scores of complaints from people that use the service and I will fight to get it restored as soon as possible.
"The fact that this change was made with no public consultation is awful. I will also be campaigning for the inclusion of a proper public consultation process as part of the next franchise agreement."
Mid Scotland and Fife MSP Claire Baker added, "I will be raising this issue with the Transport Minister and I want him to ensure that this service is restored as soon as possible.
"These changes were brought in with no public consultation and Transport Scotland need to get this service back as soon as possible. Six months is not acceptable."
Inverkeithing and Dalgety Bay SNP councillor Alice McGarry has added her name to a letter sent to Scotrail calling for a rethink of the "inexplicable" decision.
The letter stated, "This withdrawal leaves constituents trying to get into work in Edinburgh for 9am with only the 7.27am from Kirkcaldy arriving in Edinburgh at 8.12am or the 8.06am from Kirkcaldy which arrives in Edinburgh at 8.56am.
"Getting the earlier train is out of the question for many people and the later train gets in too late for them to start work on time.
"Another consequence of the withdrawal of this service is that constituents from Dalgety Bay and Aberdour will drive to Inverkeithing to catch the better service there, adding to the commuter congestion in that town.
"The decision seems to us to be inexplicable. This is a well-used commuter train which meets the needs of local communities and removing it without consultation has caused outrage."
A Scotrail spokesperson told the Press that this Sunday they were launching a new service from Dundee to Edinburgh at 7.38am, calling at Inverkeithing at 8.34am, after another train operator withdrew a morning peak Dundee-Edinburgh-Plymouth train in May this year.
To accommodate the new service the current 7.54am from Kirkcaldy has had to be 'merged' into an existing service that departs Dundee at 7.20am.
A Scotrail spokesperson said, "Timetable changes are always challenging, as we must carefully consider the impact of any changes on customers across Scotland, not just in one area of the country.
"The need to achieve a balance was even more pressing this time around given the impact on customers in Dundee and North Fife caused by the withdrawal of a Dundee-Edinburgh service by another operator.
"We did consult with the regional transport partnership, SEStran, in September on this issue.
"However, following feedback from customers and politicians, we are looking again at the timetable between Fife and Edinburgh with a view to addressing these concerns as soon as possible."
Have your say. Post a comment on this article.
Dec 9, 09:34
Scotrail are incompetent, mendacious, deceitful and only interested in profit.
The UK rail industry is some 40% less efficient than its European comparators, and 30% overpriced in terms of both ticket costs and subsidy. Passenger unit cost has not changed in well over a decade despite increasing customer numbers ... 20p per passenger per kilometre. That includes enormous government investment in stations and routes. All that First has done is to take money out of the network in profits and the passenger subsidy is now in excess of infrastructure investment.
First Group must be allowed nowhere near the 2014 franchise. It should go to a company that actually knows what it is doing, like the German company DB.
Recommend? Yes 14 No 19
Dec 9, 19:43
Scotrail is awful. At peak times, passengers are expected to pay £8+ for a return, and in all likelihood you arenít even going to get a seat. Iím on the train every week going back and forth between Edinburgh and Dunfermline and there are too few carriages for the number of people they try and jam in the space they have. People are left cramped, standing in the isles with nowhere decent to put their luggage, and thatís just at Waverly. More people pile on at Haymarket, South Gyle etc. They are a joke.
Recommend? Yes 9 No 18
Dec 9, 22:28
This dubious headline implies the withdrawal of an ENTIRE service rather than 'just' one peak hour train! Whilst appreciating the inconvenience involved - the words 'sensationalism' and 'scaremongering' readily spring to mind!
Recommend? Yes 25 No 1
Dec 11, 11:28
Dec 11, 19:19
It's the Scottish Government through Transport Scotland which 'sets the agenda" (just take note of its current and most dubious "RAIL 2014" CONsultation) and Scotrail (as the franchise holder) merely runs the service it is 'contractually' tole and 'instructed' to run!
Recommend? Yes 14 No 1
Dec 11, 19:20
It's the Scottish Government through Transport Scotland which 'sets the agenda" (just take note of its current and most dubious "RAIL 2014" CONsultation) and Scotrail (as the franchise holder) merely runs the service it is 'contractually' told and 'instructed' to run!
Recommend? Yes 13 No 1