Bosses face criticism over cancellations

Saturday 5th of September 2015. Borders Railway Golden Ticket Holders get to ride on the new rail line the day before the first fare paying passengers.
Saturday 5th of September 2015. Borders Railway Golden Ticket Holders get to ride on the new rail line the day before the first fare paying passengers.
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Rail chiefs have come in for criticism after last Saturday saw 16 hours go by without a single train on the new Waverley line from Edinburgh to Tweedbank.

Colin Maclean, of Edinburgh, makes regular use of the Borders Railway to visit the region, particularly Stow and Melrose.

Last week, though, he was hit by a succession of cancellations, prompting him to question the railway’s arrangements for dealing with faults along the line.

He said: “The railway was reopened with much fanfare less than a year ago.

“It was constructed with all-new track and signalling.

“However this appears to be failing rather often, this past weekend being the worst, with no train service at all on Saturday, July 9, from 8am till midnight.

“Some trackside equipment at Tynehead was to blame, but why couldn’t the points be locked out of use and the whole line treated as single track thus allowing some form of timetable to operate or is there just no will to deliver even an emergency service?”

A ScotRail Alliance spokesman said in response: “Services were disrupted due to a signalling fault caused by an axle counter failure.

“Axle counters monitor a train’s progress through a section of track and form a vital part of our signalling systems, telling us where trains are on the line.

“Putting in place alternative signalling arrangements, such as manual signalling by engineers, would have slowed down the process of identifying the root cause of the signalling fault and restoring the line for a full service.

“We understand the inconvenience that this incident has caused, and we had engineers on site working to identify and rectify the problems as soon as the issue developed.”

Meanwhile, ScotRail is advising passengers to check whether their journeys will be affected by this week’s strike by members of the rail union RMT.

The company says that it is running “around 70% of services on strike days”.

At the time of going to press, the union was planning strike action today and on Saturday and Sunday.

The Edinburgh-Tweedbank service is currently listed as runningat reduced frequency. Details are available at www.scotrail.co.uk