New railway timetable brings extra services

Saturday, 14th December 2019, 6:09 am
ScotRail is among operators adding services but it is also axing seat reservations on inter-city routes. Picture: John Devlin
ScotRail is among operators adding services but it is also axing seat reservations on inter-city routes. Picture: John Devlin

Extra trains to Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Glasgow will be run by ScotRail, LNER and TransPennine Express as part of timetable improvements from tomorrow.

They will be introduced along with eight carriages on peak-hour ScotRail services on the Edinburgh-Glasgow main line, as previously reported.

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However, the operator is also withdrawing seat reservations from its routes to Scotland’s other five cities because of delays to its new trains, as The Scotsman has revealed.

ScotRail will step up daily Aberdeen-Dyce-Inverurie services by up to two-thirds following track upgrading.

Direct trains between Montrose and Inverurie will be increased from five to 28 a day.

There will be more seats on two Edinburgh-bound trains on the Borders Railway. Extra seats will also be added to two daily services between Edinburgh and Fife, Edinburgh and Dunblane, and Glasgow and Lanark, and on three services on the Edinburgh-Glasgow line via Falkirk Grahamston, with a new station at Robroyston.

Two extra morning peak trains will run from Stirling to Glasgow.

However, seat reservations will no longer be available on Edinburgh/Glasgow-Aberdeen/Inverness services.

This is because of the complications ScotRail faces in having to run three different types of trains on the routes because of delays to the upgrade of its new-acquired 40-year-old “high speed train” fleet.

ScotRail said it had been “badly let down” by refurbishment firm Wabtec and fleet owner Angel Trains.

Elsewhere, LNER is introducing four extra weekday services between Newcastle and Edinburgh by extending trains to and from London King’s Cross, or adding an extra service.

TransPennine Express is adding three Liverpool-Glasgow services a day, using one of its three brand-new fleets.

The north of England operator, whose other cross-Border route is to Edinburgh, is introducing 44 new Nova trains to provide longer and more frequent services.

These offer the free entertainment system app Exstream, which provides films and TV programmes, similar to BEAM, which was provided free by former west coast Scotland-London operator Virgin Trains.

Anthony Smith, chief executive of passenger watchdog Transport Focus, said: “Many passengers should have a greater choice of services with more seats as result of these changes.

“However, there will also be some who lose out with fewer or slower services.”