Gazette Editorial- Rethink needed on rail services

There should be growing concern that it is now looking likely that direct train services in this area to Glasgow look set to be almost completely axed.

The new operators of Scotrail, Dutch firm Abellio are set to submit plans which would see only one train, departing at 9pm at night timetabled to go straight from Stranraer to Glasgow.

This is nothing short of disgraceful and SAYLSA, the community rail partnership for the area are right to voice their anger.

These plans would come into force in December 2015 but such is the nature of forward planning, that the timetables need to be submitted by Friday 6 March for the winter period.

Urgent action is now required but Abellio have so far seemed unwilling to meet with SAYLSA to hear their proposals.

SAYLSA’s proposals on the face of it seem sensible and well thought out.

Three return trains a day would run between Stranraer and Glasgow at the times when most passengers want to use them, not at 9pm at night.

Abellio may think they have won the PR game with their plans to introduce hourly services between Girvan and Maybole and Ayr but they have shot themselves in the foot if they go ahead with the loss of almost all the direct Stranraer- Glasgow services.

These can be a huge lifeline for those who don’t drive or indeed those who wish to go up to Glasgow for days out without taking a car.

Passenger numbers are sure to drop if if there is a change of train at Ayr - think of hauling all your bags off one train, a wait on the platform and then onto another train.

Rail services are vital for the economy and as we report there is evidence that the removal of services damages areas. Railways need to be invested in, not scaled back and it seems bewildering that Abellio, as they take over the franchise in the coming weeks from First Group would decide to make a decision to cut back like this.