Call for urgent action on Borders railway

Wednesday February 27th 2019

Borders Railway

Local MSP Christine Grahame has written to ScotRail CEO Alex Hynes to call for action to be taken on overcrowding on the Borders Railway, particularly at rush hours.

Ms Grahame has raised this issue with ScotRail previously but, whilst there are claims by ScotRail that additional seats have been provided on the line, trains still remain frequently overcrowded at peak times with many commuters left to stand or unable to board services.

Commenting, Ms Grahame said:

“The Borders Railway has been more of a success in attracting passengers than was anticipated when it was opened in 2015. Whilst this is good news for the viability of the line, as passenger numbers have gone up it’s put real pressures on the service at peak times.

“ScotRail needs to catch up with the demand as a matter of urgency as its actions so far in increasing capacity have not been enough to alleviate the issues for commuters, as I hear regularly of constituents who have endured overcrowding or been unable to board the train they need due to it already being full. One commuter has already found it too much and fainted with the poor conditions.

“ScotRail must look seriously at addressing this as soon as possible. It’s great we have a railway now but it needs to be reliable and useable.”

Text of Ms Grahame’s letter to Alex Hynes on 27/02/19:

Dear Alex

I refer to the letter of 4th January from David Simpson, ScotRail’ s Operation Manager. In that he states that from Monday to Friday there would be c700 additional seats per day for example, yet my inbox fills with complaints about overcrowding at commuting times. You will also be aware that as a result of overcrowding conditions a passenger fainted recently having joined the train at Brunstane, though there can be overcrowding from Tweedbank onwards. Of course I am delighted at the success of the line but must express concern that there are insufficient carriages at peak times.

Separately I have been a passenger travelling reluctantly without a ticket on more than one occasion as no-one came to issue one and as you are aware some stations do not have ticketing facilities or in the case of Shawfair it is only on the “Edinburgh” side of the line.

I would ask you to respond to both issues though overcrowding solutions must take priority.

Best regards

Christine

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