Fury over rail timetable changes

Rail users have complained about the impact of the changes on Mearns stations
Rail users have complained about the impact of the changes on Mearns stations

ScotRail bosses felt the wrath of residents at a public meeting in Laurencekirk over controversial timetable changes.

Around 60 attended the event on Friday to hear from the company about the alterations which have impacted on the town and surrounding stations.

ScotRrail insists the changes made to the timetables are the first stage in a programme of improvements.

But passengers have been left frustrated and have complained to local politicians.

Scotrail has offered to attend another meeting in six months’ time.

The public meeting was arranged by Angus North and Mearns MSP Mairi Gougeon.

She said later: “I was not surprised by the turnout and it was clear the frustration felt by the community.

“I have received an unprecedented amount of complaints about the changes and have ensured that those who couldn’t make the meeting had their concerns raised.

“ScotRail have been left in no doubt as to how people in Laurencekirk and across the North-east feel about recent changes.”

West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine MP Andrew Bowie, who attended the meeting, said afterwards: “Although there are more local trains, people who take cross-country trips have been massively inconvenienced.

“Businesses which rely on tourism also believe fewer travellers will use Laurencekirk as a gateway into Aberdeenshire – something also felt in Stonehaven.

“No timetable is permanent and ScotRail would do well to reflect public demand in the near future.”

Scott Prentice, ScotRail head of business development, said: “It’s important for us to continue to engage with stakeholders and local politicians, gaining valuable feedback from their constituents.

“The improvements made to our timetable last December were another milestone as we work to provide better services for Scotland’s railway.

“This was just the first phase of the work we are doing to deliver for our customers over coming year. We know there is more to do.”