07 November 2009

It's only bad if someone else does it, Part 5,904

From today's Herald:

Direct train services between Glasgow and London on the troubled East Coast Main Line are to be axed under a major recasting of the route’s timetable being discussed by the Government and rail industry, The Herald can reveal.

The changes on the arterial route, one of two connecting Scotland to England, will see trains that currently run from King’s Cross up the east coast to Glasgow stop at Edinburgh from December 2010.

Passenger Focus, the statutory watchdog, said yesterday it was “seeking reassurances” that another operator would step in to deliver direct services from Glasgow to the north of England, warning that key routes to destinations such as Newcastle, York and Doncaster could be affected.

There were unconfirmed suggestions Arriva Cross Country could take up the slack under the new timetable by extending the service it operated from Glasgow along part of the East Coast Main Line as far as York. That would only leave destinations in the south-east of England without a direct connection to Glasgow.

John Mason, the SNP MP for Glasgow East, said the changes revealed Labour’s “hypocrisy” on rail following criticism this week of the SNP’s decision to scrap the Glasgow Airport Rail Link. He added: “These plans, which have been made without any consultation, are a serious mistake and must be stopped in their tracks.”

James King, Scottish board member of Passenger Focus, said: “Withdrawing these services is only acceptable if another operator can be found to provide connectivity between Glasgow and the north-east of England as far as York. We would want to be reassured that another operator can pick up the slack.”

I'm not going to add to John Mason's point of the double standards at work here (and at least the SNP have merely put on hold a plan that was yet to come be implemented, whilst Labour are considering going so far as to axe existing services), save to note that the final decision rests with Lord Adonis, who has been on the campaign trail this week. I bet he waits until after Thursday to make his choice.

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