Borders Railway bosses vow to raise their game

A train on the Borders Railway.
A train on the Borders Railway.

Fewer than half of Borders Railway services to Tweedbank arrive on time, latest figures reveal.

Only 49.5% of the 33 trains a day to the terminus from Edinburgh get there as scheduled or within a minute of their due time, according to ScotRail statistics for April.

Some 87.8% of services over the last year arrived within five minutes of their scheduled time, though, not far short of the transport operator’s moving annual average public performance measure target of 89.4%.

That’s not good enough, however, says Ettrick, Roxburgh and Berwickshire MSP Rachael Hamilton, and she is calling for improvements to services on the 30-mile line, opened in 2015.

“The Borders Railway is cherished and much loved throughout the Borders. It has, however, been plagued by performance issues,” she said.

“The Scottish Government must get to the bottom of why performance problems remain an issue on the Borders line and help resolve them.

“Summer is here, and it is now more important than ever that those who want to come to the Scottish Borders have a reliable train service to do so on.

“A more reliable service means more visitors, and more visitors means a stronger Borders economy.”

A ScotRail spokesperson defended the service’s record, though, saying: “The figure quoted is for services that terminate at Tweedbank. This figure does not incorporate trains travelling from Tweedbank to Edinburgh.

“The moving annual average is in place to take account of the fluctuations that seasonality or one-off incidents that can greatly impact on performance can have on overall performance.

“Across ScotRail, more than nine out of 10 trains, 92%, met their target public performance measure from April 1 to 28, the best since September 2017.

“The measure for the Borders Railway for that four-week period, from Edinburgh to Tweedbank and Tweedbank to Edinburgh, stood at 89.1%.

“The measure to date for the current period, April 29 to May 26, stands at 93.6%.

“ScotRail continues to be the best performing large operator in the UK.

“The autumn 2017 review by Nick Donovan has led to 20 performance improvement tecommendations being accepted by the ScotRail Alliance.

“These are currently being implemented and will help address asset and fleet reliability but also include cross-functional systematic recommendations.

“Performance is not where we want it to be, and as this year progresses, our customers will continue to see improvements as more of the recommendations begin to support the improvement of the day-to-day running of services.

“We are building the best railway Scotland has ever had, and service performance is a huge part of this delivery.

“Everyone at the ScotRail Alliance is working together to deliver these improvements.”