Rail group says going Dutch could help and hinder area

An Abellio train going through Norfolk in England.
An Abellio train going through Norfolk in England.

Dutch firm Abellio have won the right to run Scotland’s rail network from April 2015 and they are promising significant benefits for passengers.

The group were awarded the franchise by the Scottish Government and they will take over from Aberdeen based First Group.

Discussing the takeover at their AGM on Saturday, community rail group SAYLSA, who serve Carrick and Wigtownshire, confirmed that there will be hourly services from Girvan and Maybole to Ayr and Kilmarnock in the future as well as an increase to eight trains travelling daily from Stranraer to Ayr.

However, concerns were raised that Transport Scotland are about to purchase a ‘costed option’ which could potentially see Stranraer losing it’s direct links with Glasgow making the south west of Scotland the only region without direct links to the central belt.

John McCutcheon chair of SAYLSA said: “Whilst we welcome an increase in frequency to Stranraer, the loss of direct services to Glasgow is a major problem.

“Why the Scottish Government continues to overlook this region is beyond me. Why is our transport policy such that we bus people 45 miles from Ayr to Scotland’s major ferry port along one of our most dangerous roads, when we have a perfectly acceptable and now upgraded railways that can do the job more environmentally friendly, cheaper and with the right timetable more quickly, beggars belief.”

SAYLSA are seeking urgent discussions with Transport Scotland and have already raised the matter with local MSP’s.