Joan McAlpine has welcomed assurances from Transport Minister Derek MacKay that the promised refurbishment of train coaches on the Glasgow – Dumfries – Carlisle route will begin this month.
In a letter sent to the Scottish Government Minister in January Ms McAlpine asked Mr MacKay to confirm whether the promises made by ScotRail franchisee Abellio about upgrades to the route would be kept. Mr MacKay has now confirmed that the class 156 trains which run on the route will be undergoing a refurbishment beginning this month, with all 38 coaches due to be fully refurbished by mid-2018.
He also gave a December 2017 deadline for the provision of enhanced services by the train provider, which will include:
• Dumfries – Glasgow service – three additional weekday services in both directions, four additional Saturday services
• Two additional Sunday services in each direction, including a morning service
• A reduction in the longest interval between trains from three hours to two
• One additional Dumfries-Carlisle shuttle
• Greater number of day time connections at Kilmarnock
News on the planned upgrades to Dumfries rail services came as it was confirmed that West Coast Mainline services, including commuter trains from Lockerbie, would re-start next week after engineering work on the Lamington Viaduct finished ahead of schedule.
Ms McAlpine welcomed the news and said:
“I’m delighted that the refurbishment of coaches on the Glasgow – Dumfries – Carlisle route will start this month. It’s been a good week for rail news in Dumfriesshire but it is absolutely essential that we acknowledge the continued need for improvement to our local rail services. While it will take some time to fully introduce the new services on the Glasgow – Dumfries – Carlisle route, I’m pleased that we now have a timetable for these much needed improvements.
“Rail improvements are needed not just for the benefit of local residents and commuters. The recent high profile of Dumfries and Galloway as the UK’s best holiday destination highlights the critically important need to make this region more accessible to people travelling by public transport.
“These improvements to the Glasgow – Dumfries – Carlisle route are desperately needed and I’m pleased to have a firm schedule for the implementation of these improvements confirmed by the Transport Secretary.”
The Minister also indicated that the introduction of a trolley catering service would begin on the route next spring, and he said a Tourism Ambassador service and a new scenic railway service would begin on selected lines, including the Glasgow-Carlisle via Dumfries route next year.