Society Magazine

Delays and Overcrowding Plague Borders Railway First Week

Posted on the 17 September 2015 by 72point @72hub
Delays and Overcrowding Plague Borders Railway First Week

Delays and overcrowding have plagued the Borders Railway's first week, deterring passengers from using the new service, campaigners have claimed.

Passengers have expressed their anger at trains being so full they have been unable to get on while others have suffered delays or cancellations.

Many trains have operated with just two carriages, despite operator ScotRail's pledge to run longer services to meet demand after the line's high-profile official opening by the Queen.

Monitoring by the Campaign for Borders Rail (CBR) showed a "significant proportion" of trains since the opening had been more than ten minutes late, and some up to 17 minutes late over their one-hour journey.

CBR chairman Simon Walton said services had been "less than perfect".

He said: "We did expect ScotRail to honour pledges to lengthen all trains in the early weeks to cope with demand but that hasn't been the case, with many running in the very minimum two-car formations and consequent overcrowding on some services."

Over half the of the 35-mile, #350 million route is single track and operated largely by ScotRail's diesel trains, most of which are awaiting refurbishment.

Robert Drysdale, an Edinburgh planning consultant who has travelled on the line several times, said: "It is frustrating because we were assured there would be more carriages during the first week when a lot of people would be trying the train.

"It was particularly important to get first impressions right, but I suspect there has been a lot of alienation."

Rail consultant David Spaven, author of Waverley Route - the battle for the Borders Railway, said: "There have been too many late trains, compounded by too many being just two coaches long - unforgivably, even during peak hours.

"Astonishingly, there have been no special managerial measures put in place by ScotRail to oversee the critical first few weeks of operation.

"This is the crucial period when passengers new to rail decide whether or not to stick with the train, and too many will now have been put off by their first underwhelming experiences."

ScotRail said disruption had been caused by factors including a train breaking down, signal problems, high passenger numbers - and disruptive travellers.

A spokesman said: "Thousands of people have flocked to use the new line, and despite extra carriages being added to many trains, it has been particularly busy on board some services, as expected.

"At times this has caused delays while these unusually large numbers of customers board and alight.

"In addition, there has been other disruption at times and we apologise to anyone whose journey has been delayed this week."

The train operator said it was "working hard" to fix the problem which had prevented passengers buying Borders line tickets from a machine at Waverley Station.

ENDS

Delays and Overcrowding Plague Borders Railway First Week
Delays and Overcrowding Plague Borders Railway First Week


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