Scotrail says ‘Revolution in Rail’ is on track despite local concerns

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Some key local routes could be heading towards a situation not unlike the “disaster” that caused outrage in England’s North West region, according to one irate Falkirk Herald reader.

It’s a claim denied by Scotrail, which insists a “Revolution in Rail” is set to offer improved journey times, more services and more capacity across much of Central Scotland.

But Larbert reader Douglas Kitson is unconvinced, citing what he sees as evidence of a service that is badly letting down local rail users.

He said: “Larbert passengers for Polmont and Linlithgow now have to change at Cameron or Grahamston.

“The 15-minute frequency from Larbert to Edinburgh between 7.26am and 8.16am will be replaced with ONE train at 7.58am, with a ‘new’ (too early) service at 7.16am.

“Class 365 electric trains will replace the existing class 158 and 170 trains.

“The diesels have two and three carriages respectively, allowing combinations of two, three, four and five carriage trains as demands change during the day - the class 365 trains are four-carriage, and can’t be doubled up to eight because the Larbert platform can only take six.

“So, as well as a huge frequency reduction in the morning, there will also be a capacity reduction”.

He complains there will be “a similar story” for Edinburgh to Larbert in the evening rush hour.

Mr Kitson complains: “The popular 17.05pm and 17.25pm express services are being done away with, being replaced by a 17.18pm service, which, for the reasons given above, can only be a four-carriage train at best”.

He adds: “The other issue is that Network Rail are refusing to sign off this timetable because of uncertainties about train deliveries (the new 385s being way late etc).

However Scotail says the changes being made between Larbert and Edinburgh will see four-carriage Class 365 trains being used all day, which it says will mean more than 10,000 additional seats will be available or customers.

It adds that the class 365s will be replaced by our new three and four carriage Hitachi class 385s next year, delivering further improvements.

A ScotRail Alliance spokesperson said: “The improvements we are making to our timetable from December are just the first phase of the work we are doing to deliver the best railway Scotland has ever had.

“The investment the ScotRail Alliance is making to electrify more lines and introduce new and upgraded trains means we will deliver faster journeys, more seats, and more services for our customers.”