Fears for passenger safety on Tweedbank-Edinburgh trains

Passengers have complained about the poor service and overcrowded carriages on the Borders line. Picture: Ken Whitcombe
Passengers have complained about the poor service and overcrowded carriages on the Borders line. Picture: Ken Whitcombe
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Infuriated commuters have slammed ScotRail for ignoring complaints of increasingly poor services and potentially dangerous overcrowding on the Tweedbank line.

Used to travelling to work by train, Ciara Forde, from Newcraighall, said the unprecedented levels of uptake on the service into Edinburgh has caused congestion in carriages worse than any she experienced when living in London.

Other rail users have backed Ciara’s frustrations at ScotRail’s “atrocious” service and lack of engagement with users to sign a petition to encourage the company to take action.

The petition is hosted on the change.org site and calls for “improved service on Scotrail Trains – Tweedbank Line”.

“There are a lot of new build developments in this area meaning an increase in commuters, so the issue with overcrowding will only get worse,” Ciara said. “I live in Newcraighall and moved to our new house in October.

“The issue has got progressively worse, especially in the last month. It’s truly dreadful, especially on the 08:11 train from Newcraighall to Edinburgh where they frequently only provide two carriages which is completely insufficient for the volume of commuters. Coupled with this are continued delays which may be up to 15 minutes.

The service isn’t much better on the weekends as although there are plenty of carriages – five last Saturday, they are often cancelled.”

Ciara said that fellow commuters, including people who have lived in the area for a long time, are also frustrated with the degradation of the service.

She added: “It appears that ScotRail failed to judge the success of the Tweedbank line.

“Not only is this very uncomfortable, and dangerous, due to the overcrowding, but people are missing the train which they have paid for.

“They are left waiting on the platform for 30 minutes until the next service resulting in them being late for work.

“Unlike when I worked in London, a missed train resulted in about a three minute wait, which was not at all inconvenient, unlike having to wait at Newcraighall in the freezing cold with an inadequate shelter.”

ScotRail said that after the completion of the central belt electrification projects, and the introduction of the new Class 385 and Inter7City trains, they will redeploy more of the existing Class 170 trains to Fife and Borders routes.

This means that more peak trains will be formed of six carriages and off peak services will generally be three carriages.

A ScotRail spokesperson said: “We know that one of the biggest concerns for our customers is busy trains – we do all that we can to meet demand, which can peak at different times.

“We run over 2,400 services every single weekday and every available train we have is out on the network to get our customers where they need to be.”

“Next year, we will begin to redeploy our existing Class 170 trains to the Borders and Fife. These trains will add more than 5,000 extra seats each day.”

Campaigners demanding the Borders line is extended from Hawick to Carlisle – its original destination – will gather at Tweedbank Station today to highlight their cause.