Borders Railway raised at First Minister’s Questions

Friday March 22nd 2019

Newtongrange Station

Christine Grahame, MSP for Midlothian South Tweeddale and Lauderdale, has raised recent performance issues on Borders Railway with the First Minister, calling on Scotrail Abellio to be told it’s “in the last chance saloon”. This comes in the wake of multiple cancellations and delays to services recently, in addition to ongoing problems with overcrowding.

The MSP, who campaigned from her election in 1999 for the reinstatement of the line, questioned whether current ScotRail franchise holder Abellio are up to the job given the continuing issues with performance. The Scottish Government has issued two formal warnings to it since December 2018, meaning it must put remedial plans in place to resolve the issues or risk losing the franchise, although these are yet to be made public.

Commenting Ms Grahame said:

“As one who campaigned from the moment I entered Parliament in 1999 to have the line reinstated I am furious at the failures of Scotrail Abellio. On Borders Railway there has been a service meltdown. It was a breakdown too on the Borders railway on Sunday – the cancellations have continued since then.

“The improvement notices have been issued but the second notice that was served requires that a remedial plan be delivered soon. The plan might be delivered, but it will not deliver trains—plans do not drive trains. Is not it time that the Scottish Government told ScotRail Abellio that it is in the last chance saloon? I certainly think so, and so do my constituents.

“The line can be a real asset to the area as we have seen already, but these benefits are only realised when it is functional and reliable – there must be real action on overcrowding and cancellations as a result of staffing issues. If performance can’t be improved it is time for Abellio to go.”

To view the question being asked at FMQs then click HERE.

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