Train bosses summoned before UK Transport Secretary

TRAIN company chiefs have been summoned to a meeting with the UK Transport Secretary after service failures at Lockerbie Station.



David Mundell at Lockerbie Station

Minister Grant Shapps called the meeting with TransPennine Express (TPE) executives after local MP David Mundell raised a series of issues with him on behalf of constituents.


Following a timetable change late last year there were a series of cancellations with some passengers left stranded at Lockerbie and others unable to get home from destinations such as Edinburgh or Glasgow.


A long-time campaigner for improved rail services, Mr Mundell this week welcomed the new Transport Secretary's swift intervention.


The Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale MP previously described the level of service as 'appalling' and in a letter to Mr Shapps urged him to 'haul' TransPennine 'over the coals.'


He said this week: "I appreciate the Minister taking up my constituents' complaints. The service that local passengers have experienced is totally unacceptable. 


"It's been a long campaign to increase the number of services at Lockerbie and we don't want this undermined by poor service or cancellations."


In his reply to Mr Mundell, the Minister states that he understood Lockerbie Station users' frustration at the delays and the considerable inconvenience they had experienced.


He wrote: "The Rail North Partnership, representing the Department for Transport and Transport for the North, continue to robustly challenge TPE to provide a stable, reliable and punctual service, and to apply contractual pressure where appropriate.


"Where your constituents have experienced delays of 30 minutes or more, or cancellations, we would encourage them to apply for TPE for 'Delay Repay' compensation."


Mr Shapps acknowledged TPE was investing £500 million in trains and was introducing three new fleets into passenger service in Scotland and the north of England later this year creating an additional 13 million journey seats annually, but that was of little comforts tothose experiencing delays or cancellations now.


He said: "Due to the late delivery of some of the new trains, and technical issues experienced, customers of TPE are experiencing an unacceptable level of service cancellations and disruption.


"This has been exacerbated by unavailability of train crews as a result of shortened timescales for training on the new rolling stock. 


"In order to provide a more stable timetable, TPE has introduced a number of short-term temporary timetable changes and is working to resolve day-to-day crew availability issues to minimise further disruption."