Carstairs Station timetable well off track

Commuters in Clydesdale who rely on trains from Carstairs Station have reacted in fury to the latest ScotRail timetable consultation.

ScotRail's proposal for the Carstairs to Edinburgh service has been met with much opposition locally and people are calling for local politicians to take up the fight too.

And they are calling on local politicians to support their calls for more trains on the line.

ScotRail unveiled plans for the new timetable from May 2022 with the aim of showing it was ‘Fit For The Future’.

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However, locals say the service from Carstairs is anything but. The proposed timetable would see the pre-pandemic service of a train every two hours being slashed to just three trains per day.

Trains would operate from Carstairs to Edinburgh at 7.46am, 12.25pm and 8.32pm, with trains from Edinburgh to Carstairs at 7.42am, 3.50pm, 5.48pm and 11.13pm.

Barry Knock, chairman of Quothquan and Thankerton Community Council, fumed: “These times rule out using trains to reach our hospital in Wishaw, which is ideally placed a few minutes walk from the station. Only one is of any real use.

"Why is it always Clydesdale that suffers?”

These feelings were echoed by many others, among them William Cummings who now uses the service four days out of five.

He said: “These proposals are a stab in the back for local people.

“Pre-pandemic I used the 10.20am to Edinburgh daily. The train was often so full that I had to stand. Saturdays were worse, often being crammed in like sardines.

“Carstairs needs to keep its one train every two hours to Edinburgh and to Glasgow.”

ScotRail launched the consultation as customers started to return the railway following the pandemic.

A spokesman said: “We are proposing a new timetable operating around 2100 services per weekday as the foundation to encourage a return to public transport following the pandemic.

"Most customers will find the number of calls at their station and the destinations served are similar to today. However, there are some areas where there is greater change, which is being done for several important reasons.

“Our analysis shows prior to the pandemic, on a number of routes across the country, significantly more seats were being provided than were required for the number of passengers travelling.

"Returning to a pre-pandemic timetable would result in trains operating 26 million more vehicle miles each year for little customer benefit. As well as increased emissions, that would increase ScotRail costs to the taxpayer from £30 million to £40 million each year.”

The consultation will remain open until October 1 at www.scotrail.co.uk/about-scotrail/fit-future.

Meanwhile, SPT has confirmed that an application to vary the timetable for the 191 service from Lanark to Biggar has now been granted.

The application was submitted following a meeting with SPT and Clydesdale MSP Màiri McAllan.

Màiri pushed for changes to the 191 timetable to allow more time for rail passengers arriving at Lanark train station to catch their connecting journey on the 191 bus to Biggar.

The change is an amendment to all the Monday to Saturday evening journey times from September 26.

Màiri said: “These changes are an important step forward to improving transport connections between Lanark, Biggar, Symington and Thankerton. I’m delighted that the application has been granted.

“Improving transport is a key priority for me. I am already in touch with ScotRail about re-starting more services from Carluke and Carstairs Junction to Edinburgh.”

However, the new bus timetable has caused another headache – with connections to other bus services, such as the 101 to Edinburgh from Biggar now being deemed “too tight” by locals.