Council to challenge proposed reduced rail service on Milngavie line

Wednesday, 10 November, 2021

A motion was agreed by Council at its meeting last week to challenge the proposed reduction in service on the Glasgow to Milngavie rail line in ScotRail’s ‘Fit for the Future’ timetable review.

Joint Council Leader Vaughan Moody explained, “ScotRail is suggesting that their timetable review is to ensure the service meets both the needs of customers and the aims of the Scottish Government as Scotland recovers from the pandemic. 

“The reality is that the review amounts to a wholesale cut in services, on a line that has been frankly unreliable for a number of years, with the numbers of trains operating off-peak on week days and during the day on Saturdays being halved from four to two an hour. This is unacceptable and we need commitment to a frequent, reliable service.”

Whilst timetables have been impacted by Covid-19 over the last 18 months a review is now taking place to bring in new, post-pandemic timetables from May 2022.  The halving of off-peak trains is in comparison to pre-pandemic timetables.

The Council has raised the issue of poor performance on the Milngavie line consistently with ScotRail and the Scottish Government over recent years. A reduction in service will reduce the attractiveness of rail as a mode of travel, impacting commuters to the city centre and tourists to East Dunbartonshire.

Joint Council Leader Andrew Polson added, “In a unanimous decision, this Council calls on ScotRail, Transport Scotland and the Scottish Government to confirm that services will not be reduced on the Milngavie line  - and seeks a commitment to improving service performance, which has been unacceptable for the people of this area for some time now. 

“Surely with the backdrop of the UN climate conference we should be enhancing sustainable, public transport, not diminishing it. ”

The detail of the Motion confirms that the Council believes:

  • It is unfathomable, given the climate crisis at a time for action to promote the use of public transport, that access to rail services are being reduced in East Dunbartonshire.
  • Our communities and residents who use the Milngavie line should not be disadvantaged by a proposed reduction in service.
  • This reduction will make it less attractive for tourists and walkers to come Milngavie, the gateway to the West Highland Way, which is critical to the local economy and tourism in the area.
  • It is ill advised to reduce service on a line, which has persistently experienced poor performance and reliability.
  • As East Dunbartonshire plans for recovery from the pandemic, service levels should be maintained at the pre-pandemic level to support local recovery.

The motion is being submitted to ScotRail, Transport Scotland and Scottish Government with the Council awaiting a response.

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