'One of the worst Sunday rail services in Scotland'
RAIL passengers in Dunfermline are getting a "second-class service" compared to those in Kirkcaldy - especially on a Sunday.
That's the verdict of MP Thomas Docherty and an angry Dunfermline rail-user who contacted the Press after recently coverage of services in West Fife.
The passenger said, "The non-coastal stations in West Fife have a far worse service both at peak times and especially on Sunday.
"For example, Kirkcaldy has four times as many times as many trains to Edinburgh on Sunday despite similar passenger numbers as the two Dunfermline stations.
"Even Alloa and Dingwall have a more frequent service to Glasgow and Inverness respectively.
"Dunfermline has one of the worst Sunday services in the whole of Scotland and still lacks an equitable peak service as well."
A check of Sunday services showed there were six trains from Dunfermline to Edinburgh and 25 from Kirkcaldy to the capital.
The first train leaves Dunfermline Town at 11.39am and the last one is at 9.37pm.
Dunfermline MP Thomas Docherty said, "As things stand people have to go to Inverkeithing to get a half-decent service on a Sunday.
"The situation is particularly bad when there's a sports event taking place in Edinburgh.
"One Sunday I went to Inverkeithing and because there was an international rugby match on at Murrayfield the train was packed solid.
"Passengers using the Dunfermline stations on a Sunday get a second-class service, there's not doubt about it, and I can't see the situation improving given the lack of investment in rolling stock."
ScotRail said its services were specified in the franchise agreement. Their spokesman added, "We continue to work with industry partners on delivering new and enhanced services across the network.
"ScotRail is running 10 per cent more trains than at the start of the franchise and are currently working with Transport Scotland to review Sunday levels of service."
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Have your say. Post a comment on this article.
Oct 4, 19:54
An 11:39 start on Sunday is far too late - better to take the bus on Sundays!
Hasn't Docherty got enough to do for Dunfermline with his reserved remit? Last time I looked, transport was devolved to MSPs, best he get on with his own job!
Recommend? Yes 12 No 2
Oct 4, 20:17
A big thank you to Gary Fitzpatrick and the Dunfermline Press for writing up this story - it really is great to see this issue raised.
I must say it's nice of ScotRail to respond to the Press - they still haven't replied to an email regarding this that I sent on the 14th September, despite their promise to reply within seven days.
Of course, the issue just gets worse. Do Transport Scotland know that ScotRail keep the waiting room at Dunfermline Town locked on Sundays, so if it's pouring down with rain, everyone has to squeeze into a tiny shelter? Last Sunday that's exactly what happened - but because there are so few trains, the platform was nearly as busy as weekday peak times and we couldn't all fit! To add insult to injury, ScotRail only bothered to provide a tiny two-carriage train: you have more chance of getting a seat at peak times than you do on a Sunday these days! I slightly disagree with Thomas Docherty that it is a rolling stock issue - ScotRail has plenty of spare rolling stock on Sundays that isn't being used, and even more trundling around the country providing empty services to other towns. ScotRail have also just gleefully announced increased Sunday services elsewhere...
Might an easy option be for ScotRail to run some trains via Dunfermline rather than Kirkcaldy? I still haven't been given a proper reason why Dunfermline can't be served by express or longer-distance trains, and why they must all go via Kirkcaldy. Perhaps Transport Scotland specifies that these trains must get a good old blast of sea air and a pretty view of the Lothians?
In summary, I must say it's lovely to hear from Thomas Docherty MP - after all, I don't really know what MPs from Scotland do these days. I'm glad he has the option of travelling to Inverkeithing, presumably by car? I can’t afford both a Scotrail season ticket and a car: if I had to get a bus to Inverkeithing, I’d just get the bus to Edinburgh – the Sunday bus service is, as Monet1 says above, much better! I've even suspected that the SNP govt don't want ScotRail to compete with Brian Soutar's StageCoach... But the serious point is that many will have paid for a ScotRail season ticket – why should they pay bus fares on top? It would be appreciated if Docherty could speak to his regional MSP counterparts (the railways are, indeed, a devolved matter, not anything to do with MPs and Westminster) from Fife & Central Scotland who have also ignored my emails (I'm beginning to see a pattern form...)
Recommend? Yes 14 No 5
Oct 4, 22:52
First should lose there licence as they provided a shocking service and we all pay through the nose for a service that is simply shocking, First should be stripped of there franchise as they think that using a train called Hogwarts express which is a train from the nighteen seventies to commute people to work everyday.Working people of Fife who have to travel to Edinburgh for work have to put up with this appalling service everyday and pay over the top price for a shocking service.
First rail services are that bad that over 100,000 people signed a perdition to stop them getting the west coast main line service.
I have been on a train on a Sunday where is 300 people awaiting on a train only for first scotrail to put on two carriages and try and fit 300 people into a train that should only hold 150 people, this is a health and safety issue that should not be happening, cattle have more transport rights than us the paying public on trains.
They have the cheek to keep raising prices for this SIMPLY SHOCKING SERVICE.
First Scotrail =Overpriced,Overcrowed,Late Trains,No Planning for major Events=NO RAIL that should be there new name.......................
Recommend? Yes 21 No 2
Oct 5, 03:08
Oct 5, 13:44
Mr Docherty is being economical with the truth here, and is not comparing like-with-like.
Kirkcaldy is a mainline station, so it gets the Abereen, Dundee, Inverness and Perth trains as well as the fife Circle.
Recommend? Yes 9 No 8
Oct 5, 16:51
Agree totally with all the above comments....however why is the bus station not open when the first bus operates in the morning
Some people particularly elderly people need the toilet..no I am not being funny the council closed the toilets on queen anne street and it is an offence to pee in the street!....
Dunfermline going forward???...I wonder????
Recommend? Yes 6 No 2
Oct 7, 10:40
Oct 7, 10:50
The other thing is that there's plans to build a new rail station at Halbeath with Park and Ride facilities that links to Perth/Dundee/Aberdeen. This would be quicker but would reduce trains to Kirkcaldy. You'd think our MP would know this though.
Recommend? Yes 1 No 1
Oct 8, 17:52
rather than let Thomas Docherty talk to the horses mouth about how pathetic the trains are etc, why does he not ask them why we are the only country in the developed world to have a franchise system for our railways. Has anyone ever stepped out of the UK and seen a good train system that Switzerland has? or even france? all government run and work like a swiss watch!
Recommend? Yes 1 No 1
Oct 11, 07:31
I have made several complaints to scotrail over the past few years regarding the service from Dunfermline. At busy times ie Edinburgh festival, winter wonderland and the german market, they still persist with a 2 carriage train which is full before you leave Dunfermline. Doesnt help that the first train is 11.39, because everyone wants to travel on this one.
Recommend? Yes 2 No 0
Oct 11, 22:55
Docherty's taken it up 'cos Bill Walker's office seems only to be concerned with his salary.
ScotRail's stock needs to be maintained, often a Sunday is the most convenient time to do this - it's nothing to do with being "bothered"
As for not getting inter-city services - the Dunfermline side of the Fife Circle is slower than the Kirkcaldy side, plus going via Dunfermline means that Kirkcaldy can't be served at all.
Recommend? Yes 0 No 1
Oct 26, 12:07
AngusD: I understand ScotRail needs to maintain their rolling stock - but this gets done throughout the week and overnight, and they run plenty of services elsewhere on a Sunday. As I've pointed out several times, it's about the distribution of Sunday services - I'm not expecting ScotRail to provide a full timetable seven days a week.
I also take issue with your last comment. The Dunfermline side of the Fife Circle is only about 1.5miles longer than the coastal route, and was built as a full express train route, just the same as the coastal route. In short, that means it would be about 2 or 3 minutes longer, yet with services more equally distributed there would be potential gains in fewer delays as services bunch up on the coastal route. Furthermore, when did anyone suggest replacing all of Kirkcaldy's services?! Even if only 6 of Kirkcaldy's Sunday services were switched to go via Dunfermline, Dunfermline would get a doubling of its service - Kirkcaldy would still be left with NINETEEN trains to Edinburgh. That's not quite the same as 'can't be served at all'?! It would still be served very generously!
Recommend? Yes 1 No 0