South Scotland

Lockerbie train booking ban 'blatant discrimination'

Colin Smyth Image copyright Colin Smyth
Image caption Colin Smyth has raised further concerns about services running between Lockerbie and Edinburgh

A train company has been accused of "blatant discrimination" over a ban on booking advance seats on busy trains from Lockerbie to Edinburgh.

South of Scotland MSP Colin Smyth said TransPennine Express had imposed the block due to overcrowding during the Edinburgh Festival.

Passengers are able to get on or off at stations further south.

The company said it was a temporary measure and "in no way" was it stopping customers from travelling.

Mr Smyth said a block on seat reservations for journeys of about an hour or less on the Manchester to Edinburgh service was unfair to Lockerbie passengers.

It comes after his recent complaints about them being treated "like cattle" on overcrowded trains.

'Far from open'

"Several passengers highlighted even more problems including the fact the company are now banning passengers from booking seats on busy services from Lockerbie to and from Edinburgh," he said.

"TransPennine Express have been far from open with passengers in admitting the introduction of a ban on seat bookings on busy trains during the festival when a journey is around one hour or less.

"This means that if a passenger is travelling to the Scottish capital on this service, the only station they are banned from booking a seat from is Lockerbie."

The company said it had had to restrict reservations for journeys of up to about one hour due to services to and from Edinburgh being "extremely busy" in August.

"This is a temporary measure for the busy month of August only, and in no way are we stopping customers from travelling," said a spokesperson.

"We recognise that our services to and from Edinburgh can be very busy, and we are introducing extra capacity across our network.

"We're also introducing more services, and from December 2017 we plan to introduce additional weekday evening services, including a new 22:30 departure from Edinburgh to Lockerbie, and additional Sunday services that will call at Lockerbie."

The company also said it hoped to meet with Mr Smyth in the near future.

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