Motherwell MP signals anger over rail services cut

Motherwell train station
Motherwell train station

Motherwell and Wishaw MP Frank Roy has called for proposed changes to rail timetables in the area to be scrapped.

Mr Roy wants Transport Scotland to intervene after being contacted by constituents who say they will be faced with reduced services and longer journeys.

ScotRail is rerouting the current Lanark-Glasgow serices from the low level Argyle Line to go to Glasgow Central High Level.

But the move will mean there will no longer be direct services from Shieldmuir to stations such as Argyle Street and the SECC, as well as halving the number of trains to and from Motherwell via these stations.

Mr Roy said: “The changes will cause a great deal of disruption to many hard working local people who rely on this service to go to and from work. This has been done without any consultation. I call upon Transport Scotland to intervene and stop these changes.”

Meanwhile Uddingston and Bellshill MSP Michael McMahon is to meet ScotRail bosses next week to discuss timetable changes being introduced to services next month.

Mr McMahon says he has been ‘inundated’ with complaints from constituents about the alterations.

Rerouting of some services will mean passengers from Bellshill and Uddingston will no longer have direct trains to stations such as Rutherglen, Dalmarnock, Argyle Street and the Exhibition Centre.

Mr McMahon said: “In spite of the Transport Minister’s claims, train users from Bellshill are about to find that the service they have to Glasgow at present is about to diminish. How Keith Brown believes that cutting the availability of four trains per hour down to two is providing more services is beyond me.”

The proposed ScotRail timetable changes due to come in next month will mean services from Lanark via Shieldmuir and Motherwell no longer calling at many stations they currently go through.

Services will be rerouted to Glasgow Central High Level, meaning many travellers will no longer have direct trains to stations serving venues such as Celtic Park, the St Enoch Shopping Centre and the SECC and Hydro.

Work commuters will also be affected, among them David Campbell from Motherwell who said the changes would increase his daily commute from 46 minutes to 76 minutes.

He said: “They are not just amending the timetable, they are annihilating it.

“As a commuter travelling from Motherwell to Finnieston for the past eight years, I have used these extremely popular services on thousands of occasions and am stunned that they are now deemed unnecessary.”

Mr Campbell complained to ScotRail managing director Steve Montgomery - but was told timetables were governed by Transport Scotland, although he insisted in his reply that the changes would provide a ‘much more regular service across the network’.

In his letter to Mr Montgomery, Mr Campbell said: “Your website introduces the December 2014 timetable as “Timetable improvements for Lanarkshire passengers” but I strongly disagree with this headline as my daily commute will increase from 46 minutes to 76 minutes, an increase of 65 per cent.

“The addition of over 100 hours per year to my commute (and no reduction in price) does not represent an improvement to me or the many other people who rely on these trains.

“I urge you to reinstate these services and show some loyalty to the many commuters who travel on a daily basis to stations such as Argyle Street, Anderston, Exhibition Centre and Partick.”

But in response Mr Montgomery said: “Our timetables are governed by Transport Scotland, who set the

specification.

“The changes in December are to provide a much more regular service across the network for the entire day – where currently there are many gaps that are continually complained about.

“The express trains that you mention create some of these gaps, and whilst these benefit you, they disbenefit others at the intermediate stations.

“It is clear that any change that is made to train times does not meet with everyone’s individual desires and I hope you can understand that it is difficult to satisfy each individual passenger.

“Having said that, we are reviewing, with Transport Scotland, any possible subsequent changes that could be made within the increasingly congested rail network to provide some mitigation to the comments being made.”

ScotRail insist the new timetable will offer improved connections with new departure times for

many passengers travelling between Motherwell, Bellshill or Holytown and Glasgow Central.

A spokeswoman for ScotRail said: “By adding new services and stops, the new timetable is designed to make travel easier and more convenient for the vast majority of our customers.

“We will be distributing commuter information showing the new peak time trains on each route. We will also have more staff on the ground to highlight the changes.”

Despite the fact that services from Glasgow will be split between the High level and Argyle lines, ScotRail say the timetable is ‘less complex and easier to use’.

They also say that despite the loss of direct services to some key stations from Bellshill, passengers will still be able to go to all stations by taking advantage of ‘good connections’ at Cambuslang.