Midlothian MSP calls for action on packed Borders Railway trains

A train on the single track section of the Borders Railway, at Eskbank.
A train on the single track section of the Borders Railway, at Eskbank.

Local MSP Christine Grahame has written to ScotRail CEO Alex Hynes to call for action to be taken on overcrowding on the Borders Railway, particularly at rush hour.

Ms Grahame (SNP) has raised this issue with ScotRail previously but, whilst there are claims by Scotrail that additional seats have been provided on the line, trains still remain frequently overcrowded at peak times with many commuters left to stand or unable to board services.

She said: “The Borders Railway has been more of a success in attracting passengers than was anticipated when it was opened in 2015. Whilst this is good news for the viability of the line, as passenger numbers have gone up it’s put real pressures on the service at peak times.

“ScotRail needs to catch up with the demand as a matter of urgency as its actions so far in increasing capacity have not been enough to alleviate the issues for commuters.

“I hear regularly of constituents who have endured overcrowding or been unable to board the train they need due to it already being full. One commuter has already found it too much and fainted with the poor conditions.

“ScotRail must look seriously at addressing this as soon as possible. It’s great we have a railway now but it needs to be reliable and useable.”

A ScotRail spokesperson said: “We know that one of the biggest concerns for our customers is busy trains - we do all that we can to meet demand, which can peak at different times. We run over 2,400 services every single weekday and every available train we have is out on the network to get our customers where they need to be.

“Over the course of this year, we will begin to redeploy more of our existing Class 170 trains to the Borders and Fife. These trains will add more than 5,000 extra seats each day.”