Half hourly rail service on track to return to Midlothian
In the consultation ScotRail initially proposed providing two trains per hour between Edinburgh and Tweedbank during peak hours only, with one train per hour for the rest of the day, but has dropped this plan following the public’s response.
The changes will be on a trial basis only to test how quickly off-peak demand recovers and grows beyond pre-pandemic levels.
Ms Grahame (SNP), a long time campaigner for the re-opening of the Borders Railway, said: “I know the proposal to only have a train once an hour during the day was concerning too many people and I’m glad ScotRail has listened and agreed to up this to twice hourly to see how demand develops.
“The pandemic has fundamentally changed the way much of society lives and works, with a permanent move to hybrid home/office working for many of us and meetings moving online.
"This shift means it’s unlikely things will ever simply go back to how they were before the pandemic, but to what extent these changes remain and how passenger journeys change in the long term remains to be seen.
“There is a balance to be struck between ensuring services are fit for purpose for those who still do need or want to travel and not having empty trains running regularly, which is not sustainable from a financial or environmental standpoint.
“We’re in uncharted territory, but I remain a firm believer in the benefits of the Borders Railway and look forward to seeing how it evolves in future.”
Among ScotRail’s 434 responses from customers who travel on services between Edinburgh and Tweedbank, the most mentioned topics were frequency (59 per cent) and capacity (14 per cent).
There were specific comments about the time of the first arrival at Edinburgh and the frequency of services at the end of the traditional evening peak period.