Musselburgh station: commuters hit by overcrowding

A train arrives at Musselburgh Station. Picture: Toby Williams
A train arrives at Musselburgh Station. Picture: Toby Williams
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OVERCROWDED trains have stopped calling at Musselburgh station – leaving dozens of angry commuters late for work.

Alison Johnstone, Green MSP for the Lothians, said the regular failure to stop during rush hour was affecting residents’ “entire lives”.

In recent weeks it has been reported that ScotRail trains on the North Berwick to Edinburgh service have been so full, that by the time they call at Musselburgh, they cannot accommodate any more passengers.

This has resulted in hundreds of commuters being late for work on multiple occasions.

Ms Johnstone said: “There’s growing frustration as trains are so full they don’t stop at Musselburgh, leaving people on the platform, disrupting their entire day.

“One in four people in East Lothian don’t have access to a car and need reliable public transport to get on with their lives.”

When Ms Johnstone raised the problem at the Scottish Parliament this week, Transport Minister Derek Mackay stated that until a longer platform is completed at North Berwick next year, colour-coded timetables will be published to highlight busy and quieter services.

Ms Johnstone said: “I don’t see how colour-coding timetables will help as local people already know when the busiest services are.

“Most people still need to get to and from work at peak morning times and many employees simply don’t have the option to travel outwith these times.”

Frustrated commuters have called upon ScotRail to introduce extra services between Musselburgh and the Capital to deal with the high volume of passengers.

John Williamson, a local councillor, said: “This just seems to have become a bigger problem over the past few weeks, especially with peak trains just after 8am.

“It’s terrible that people can’t get a train when they’d like, and it’s a shame there are no shorter-term solutions.

“Colour charting isn’t the answer, people already know when the busiest times are, they don’t need that pointed out to them.”

He added: “I just hope the problem is solved soon, as 6000 new houses are set to be built in Musselburgh over the next few years.”

Network Rail has confirmed that an extension to the platform at North Berwick station will be installed next year – with the work beginning in January.

It is expected the extension will take four months to complete, after which time the station will be able to accommodate trains with more carriages.

Over the past week, numerous ScotRail services across the country have been altered to deal with the closure of the Forth Road Bridge, and to accomodate the increasing number of passengers travelling to and from Fife.

A spokeswoman for ScotRail said: “We will be releasing more information about our plans in this regard and the benefits for our customers in the coming weeks.”

courtney.cameron@edinburghnews.com