Transport bosses are being called on to heed the need for more speed as latest figures reveal that fewer than half of Borders Railway services to Tweedbank arrive on time.
Only 48.6% of trains got to the south end of the 30-mile track on time or less than a minute late between July 22 and August 18, according to a performance update by ScotRail.
It also reveals that, over the same period, only 86.7% of trains terminating at Tweedbank arrived within five minutes of the time they were supposed to get there.
That’s below the national average of 88.2% and well below the target figure of 92.13% rail chiefs are being asked to aim for.
On a typical weekday, 33 trains from Edinburgh terminate at Tweedbank, meaning that four or five a day are turning up over five minutes late, and that’s nowhere near good enough, according to Borders MP John Lamont.
“These are disappointing results, particularly when passengers are repeatedly told that performance on the Borders Railway will get better,” said the Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk MP.
“For nearly one in six trains to be leaving or arriving significantly late is simply not good enough.
“The campaign to extend the railway to Hawick and on to Carlisle is not helped by the poor performance of the current line to Tweedbank.
“We need the service to be as reliable as possible so that it is well used and brings economic benefit to the Borders.”
Rachael Hamilton, MSP for Ettrick, Roxburgh and Berwickshire, added: “I have heard from local businesses that they have been enjoying a boost in trade as a result of the Edinburgh Festival, with tourists coming down to the Borders on the train for a day out.
“However, delays in public transport might well have soured their otherwise-lovely day in the Scottish Borders.
“It worries me that even when there are no weather issues such as snow or leaves on the line, ScotRail still struggle to achieve their targets on the Borders Railway.”
A ScotRail spokesperson said: “We know performance needs to be better, and we share the frustrations of our customers when things don’t go according to plan.
“The Borders Railway has been a massive success, with over four million passenger journeys since its opening. It’s important that we continue to improve.
“The investment we are making in new and upgraded trains, and our recruitment drive to increase the number of people working on our front line, will help us significantly in enhancing 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 is working together to deliver these improvements.”
The latest performance figures can be seen at www.scotrail.co.uk/sites/default/files/assets/download_ct/webupload_1819_05.pdf