Class 380 EMU at Drem on its first day
Rail Action Group East of Scotland
RAGES

Contents

Aims of RAGES

To improve the rail service between Edinburgh, Dunbar and Berwick upon Tweed.

To have East Linton and Reston stations re-opened for active use.

To improve the level of service to North Berwick.

To re-open the branch line from Longniddry to Haddington.

To consider the implications with regard to car parking and bicycle storage at stations between Waverley and Berwick upon Tweed.

To keep under scrutiny the standards of passenger facilities at stations between Waverley and Berwick, including North Berwick, and to draw the attention of the relevant bodies to shortcomings which arise.

The group, being environmentally minded, will actively strive to encourage rail travel within its geographical area.

 

East Coast Main Line Franchise

On 16th May 2018, David Horne, Managing Director of Virgin Trains East Coast, wrote to RAGES to update us on their East Coast Main Line services following the Secretary of State for Transport’s statement.

"The Government has announced that our contract will come to an end on 24th June 2018 and that the services we currently run will be delivered by the Operator of Last Resort (OLR). We are deeply disappointed at the Government’s decision and that we cannot continue to deliver our transformational plans for the franchise, building on our 75 million worth of investment since 2015.

"We are very proud of the VTEC team’s exceptional contribution in transforming the passenger experience on the East Coast Main Line – achieving the highest levels of customer satisfaction of any franchised operator in the UK. In less than three years, we have undertaken a full refurbishment of our existing fleet, created 48 new services between London and Edinburgh and delivered industry-leading initiatives for our customers, including Advance Purchase on the day tickets. We have laid the groundwork for the rollout of the 65 new state-of-the-art Intercity Express Programme (IEP) trains, which will be entering service from December, adding thousands more seats for passengers. Our colleagues will continue to support the successful delivery of the franchise and the IEP rollout, working for London North Eastern Railway, and we wish them every success.

"Virgin and Stagecoach are privileged to have operated trains on behalf of the UK Government for the past 22 years. In doing so, we have always met in full our contractual commitments. While we have highlighted our track record of innovation, investment and customer improvements, we of course regret that our plans and ambitions for the East Coast franchise have not proceeded as we originally envisaged.

"I wanted to take this opportunity to echo the Secretary of State’s reassurances that the changes to the contract will not impact on the day-to-day operation of train services and ticketing, and customers can continue their travel plans with complete confidence. If you have any questions regarding the future of the franchise, please contact enquiries@olrholdings.co.uk."

Latest Campaign News

The meeting held on 22 June 2017, chaired by Transport Minister, Humza Yousaf, and attended by RAGES, Network Rail and Transport Scotland were very disappointed to be told that a new study was to be made into the railways fitness for purpose, to report in 2020. 

As an action from the RAGES AGM held in September 2017, our members were encouraged to send an e-mail or letter to the Minister expressing their dismay at the continuing delay in re-opening the two stations.

In mid-October there as an announcement where the Minister claimed "... that the rail fund allocation from the UK Treasury leaves a 600m gap and said: "This 600m shortfall will do serious damage to Scotland's railways and our future enhancement projects."

Members were again asked to contact the Minister urging him not to delay the re-opening of our stations given the relatively small funding that is required.

Those who did got a reply:

"Any funding shortfall may impact a wide range of plans for the rising demand for Scotland’s railways.  To date, Transport Scotland have not yet published the statement of funds available (SoFA) for the rail network for 2019-2024.  We are continuing our constructive engagement with HM Treasury on principals and overall funding available in order to allow us to resolve the matter of the shortfall.

"In the meantime, we will continue to work with the rail industry to plan for the next rail investment period and the commitment to progress Reston and East Linton stations as early as practicable in Control Period 6 (2019-2024)."

RAGES met Alex Hynes, Managing Director, ScotRail Alliance and Jonathan Pugh, Strategy and Planning Director (Scotland) at 50 Waterloo Street, Glasgow on 21st November 2017 when they welcomed the news that the Line Capacity Study had just started and would conclude sometime around April/May 2018 and not in 2020 as had been reported earlier.  This will look at not just our service requirements for a viable all day service timetable, but that of all other users of the East Coast Main Line including freight.  The report of the meeting is in The RAGES Rag Issue 70.