Controversial plans to radically overhaul the East Coast Main Line timetable and cut services from Dunbar have been delayed until 2023 after concerted action from local residents.
The proposed changes would have resulted in the growing town of Dunbar losing 11 of its 32 rail services, including the removal of almost all Cross-Country services and the removal of two LNER services used heavily by Dunbar to Edinburgh commuters.
Following blacklash to the consultation on the new timetable from residents, LNER and other operators have decided to postpone the timetable changes.
An excerpt from the letter circulated by LNER reads:
“The East Coast Main Line’s timetable change will be the most significant upgrade to the train services on this route for a decade.
“To ensure a new timetable can be introduced successfully and after careful consideration, the industry has agreed it will not be introduced in May 2022. This is a result of a combination of issues that need to be rectified before a significant timetable change can be introduced to operate reliably for customers.
“There are five key reasons why this course of action has been recommended:
- Further performance modelling is required, which is not achievable before the timetable bid date of 1 October 2021
- Additional timetable development is required to enable successful integration of freight paths
- Fleet availability in order to allow Hitachi time to repair cracks in the Class 800 trains
- A need for increased traction power supply across the East Coast Main Line
- Responses received to the public timetable consultation may enable a change to the service specification
“LNER and other East Coast Main Line train operators, as well as Network Rail, will therefore take this opportunity for thorough consideration of the stakeholder and customer feedback received during the timetable consultations.
“This will inform updated proposals for the East Coast Main Line’s significant timetable change, with the aim to implement this in 2023, although that date is not confirmed.”
Commenting on the news, Craig Hoy, a Conservative MSP for South Scotland, said: “I am delighted that regular rail services will continue from Dunbar until at least 2023, and that LNER will be looking again at the consultation responses before announcing future plans.
“This is good news for local people, and I would like to thank residents who participated in the consultation process and campaigned for this.
“Dunbar is a fast-growing town, and there is a pressing need for adequate public transport to service commuters and day-trippers heading into the town.
“I made this clear in my submission to LNER and letter to the UK Transport Minister, and I hope that LNER and the UK and Scottish Governments will listen to local people and put their interests first by maintaining and improving local public transport services.”