ScotRail under attack from MP

Passengers at Stonehaven and Laurencekirk have complained about the timetable changes
Passengers at Stonehaven and Laurencekirk have complained about the timetable changes

An MP has claimed that ScotRail bosses have “completely disregarded” residents’ concerns about fewer trains stopping at Mearns towns.

West Aberdeenshire and Kincadrine’s Andrew Bowie said he has been left “extremely frustrated” by the lack of response from the company to the issues around services travelling via Stonehaven and Laurencekirk.

Under new timetable changes, there are no trains to the Central Belt stopping at Laurencekirk.

Meanwhile, passengers in Stonehaven have to travel to Montrose and then change trains onto the main Glasgow service.

The Scottish Conservative MP wrote to ScotRail managing director Alex Hynes in January – and again in May.

Mr Bowie described the ‘silence’ from senior management is “unacceptable”.

In his letter, he added: “It is extremely frustrating that I cannot provide answers on the matter to my constituents, due to the lack of forthcoming information from yourselves.

“The lack of action on this, and the failure to even respond to my initial letters, smacks of a complete disregard for residents who live on the East Coast Main Line in settlements between Aberdeen and Montrose.

“I previously requested a meeting with yourself to discuss this situation and what can be done to resolve it.

The letter continued: “I have since attending a public meeting on this matter where, again, I requested a meeting to discuss further. During that public meeting, held in Laurencekirk, promises were made by ScotRail to the public, namely that ScotRail would report back to the community with an action plan for moving forward.

“To this date there has been no reporting back, nor to my knowledge has there been an action plan worked up.

“I would greatly appreciate it if you could please advise me on the time line for reporting back to the community.”

ScotRail said the creation of an interchange station at Montrose in December, 2018, allowed for more local services to operate at stations like Stonehaven and Laurencekirk, providing customers with more options for travel.

This meant daily services at Stonehaven increased from 50 to 71, resulting in more than 5,000 extra seats each day along the route.

It also resulted in daily services at Laurencekirk increasing from 24 to 40 since December with more than 5,000 extra seats each day along the route.

A ScotRail spokesperson said: “It’s important for us 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 in the North-east.”