We’re watching you Abellio, warn council

Lanark Railway Station''Picture by Lindsay Addison
Lanark Railway Station''Picture by Lindsay Addison

CALLS have been made for the dependability - or otherwise - of train services between Lanark and Glasgow to be closely monitored from now on.

That appeal to the public transport authority SPT (Strathclyde Parnership for Transport) has gone out from Lanark Community Council, which discussed growing discontent over the performance of new ScotRail franchise operators Abellio since they took over the running of services in the spring.

At the council’s Monday night meeting the acting chairman, Leonard Gray, said that members should now put the disappointment of May’s unpopular move of the Lanark-city service from the Central Low Level to High Level behind them and now concentrate on how Abellio was running that new timetable and service.

Measuring his words, Leonard stated: “The new service doesn’t appear to be as good as it should be.”

Members of the council enthusiastically agreed with him, pointing to reports in the Gazette of multiple last-minute train cancellations, breakdowns and line failures.

A fortnight ago two successive evening rush hour service terminations at Wishaw left scores of Lanark and Carluke commuters stranded for over an hour there.

Lanark Churches member the Rev Bryan Kerr urged the South Lanarkshire Council representatives at the meeting, Councillors Ed Archer and Catherine McClymont, to take the matter up with the SPT, of which their council was a member.

He said that it was that public transport authority which should be monitoring the performance of Abellio as it was beyond the means of small, voluntary bodies like Lanark Community Council to fully monitor train service performance.

He added: “If we went to Abellio with our anecdotal complaints of difficulties, they would say to us: ‘Alright, where’s your hard evidence? Where’s the exact facts and figures?’ We need a body like the STP to collate that data.”

Both Councillors Archer and McClymont undertook to approach the SPT to ask for it to monitor the service and report back its data.