Helping to shape local rail services

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The City of Brechin and District Community Council played its part in shaping Scotland’s rail services by responding to Transport Scotland’s Rail 2014 consultation.

In 2014, both the current contract for rail passenger services (ScotRail) and the funding arrangements for Network Rail in Scotland are due to come to an end and new arrangements have to be in place.

The community council strongly oppose the suggestion that the cross border services are terminated in Edinburgh, valuing the through services from Montrose to London.

They stated that changing trains from one operator to another can cause significant problems if there are delays and missed connections acting as a disincentive to long distance rail travel.

The group support the view that the rolling stock provided by Scotrail for journeys from Montrose to Edinburgh and Glasgow is substandard in terms of what should be expected from an intercity rather than a suburban service.

The sleeper serviced from Montrose to England is one that the group would like to be retained, with one of the specified serviced being the sleeper service to Aberdeen, calling at Montrose and Arbroath.

In terms of station facilities, they commend the installation of windows in the shelter on the west side of the station at Montrose (the north bound platform) so that people can view Montrose Basin and the wildlife. However access for disabled people to the north bound platform is very poor and provision for lifts should be made. Car parking is sometimes a problem and ways need to be investigated of improving this – perhaps through a deal with the local Co-operative supermarket.

They note, with disappointment, that there is no mention in the document of provision for a connection with an extended Caledonian railway so that a rail connection between Brechin and Montrose can be restored.

The next meeting of the group is scheduled for Tuesday, March 6 at 7.30 pm in the Damacre Centre. The agenda includes an update from the local police and a further update on the Community Campus following the Community Council’s correspondence with Angus Council.

Discussions will also focus on engagement with the community, an Olympic Flame event and a Community Council-hosted hustings before the Angus Council elections on May 3.

Convener Grahame Lockhart commented: “We hope the community will recognise that we are trying to take a wide view on the matters of importance within the community and that we are trying to find the best methods for eliciting the views of the community and representing those to the appropriate statutory bodies such as Angus Council.

“I would like to encourage interested members of the community to attend so we may hear from them.”