Latest Rail News


Scottish rail minister intervenes to block CrossCountry service reduction

Proposals to reduce CrossCountry rail services from the north east of Scotland have been scrapped after transport minister Humza Yousaf stepped in to defend the line.

CrossCountry has now withdrawn a proposed timetable that could have resulted in six services between Aberdeen and Edinburgh being taken off the tracks from December.

However, after Yousaf penned a letter to rail minister Paul Maynard expressing his concerns and making a case for the line not to be cut, the decision has been made to ditch the new timetable.

“I’m very pleased that the Department for Transport and CrossCountry Trains have seen sense and withdrawn this proposed timetable,” Yousaf stated.

“It was very clear the proposals would’ve had a detrimental impact on rail travel in the north east of Scotland, reducing connectivity and capacity, and put unwelcome pressure on the network.”

Yousaf argued that the services fill important timetable gaps and act as a key commuter route to and from Edinburgh and beyond.

“I was not prepared to let these crucial business and social links disappear and that is why I raised the matter personally,” Yousaf reassured Scottish passengers.

The Scottish minister also said that he had reached an agreement with Maynard that Transport for Scotland would be fully consulted on similar issues in the future, saying that “this, of course, is how this type of process should work”.

“We have now secured a continuing, cross-border rail link for people in the north east and will continue to work with the Department for Transport to ensure the continuity of that service in the future,” Yousaf concluded.

A CrossCountry spokesman said: “Last year CrossCountry consulted widely on possible changes to its timetables from December 2017.

“These included the option of changing the number of CrossCountry services north of Edinburgh to and from north east Scotland, allowing the local train operator ScotRail to provide these.

“After discussions between the Department for Transport and Transport Scotland, it became clear that ScotRail would be unable to replicate these services at this time, so it was agreed there would be no changes to CrossCountry’s Scottish timetables from this December and further discussion would take place to agree the future of these services.”

The news comes the day after a new study was commissioned to look into extending the Borders railway to Carlisle and further improve connections to the North East of England for Scottish travellers.

Top Image: EDDIE

Have you got a story to tell? Would you like to become an RTM columnist? If so, click here.


Lutz   12/04/2017 at 17:02

So in reality, the changes are only postponed until ScotRail has the requisite resources.

Dave H   12/04/2017 at 17:09

This use of trains which would otherwise sit for longer every morning and go out of service earlier, when they arrive in Edinburgh (or Glasgow) dates back to the smart thinking of Chris Green who saw the key gain, especially in the morning of running 500+ seats on an HST in from Aberdeen or Dundee to boost the commuter capacity, with the added benefit to some passengers of a through train connection for the South. It was less of an issue then as all train crew were 'British Rail' but now, we have the cost of Virgin EC and CrossCountry having to run with their staff 'up country' and all the other farrago of splitting fares through RSPLtd. For the 2014 Games, we had an East Coast train operated as a Scotrail service to deliver a midnight, 500 seat traion back from Glasgow to Edinburgh. Surely the economical way to deliver this improved utilisation of the trains us to make ALL services North of Glasgow and Edinburgh crewed by Scotrail, but the rolling stock diagrams can be set up to use Voyagers, HST's, and when wires are in place, Class 350's and IC225/IEP. Staffing costs simplified and reduced, fares simplified (and reduced?) It can be done if the will is there - with a firther option on Sundays (when long distance demand is highest on ECML) why not have Virgin operating relief services with GNTL Class 365's between say Doncaster and London?

Andrew Gwilt   13/04/2017 at 00:08

Class 365's between Doncaster and London? Don't think it wouldn't happen Dave H. The Class 365's can only reach up to 100mph max and can only go as far as Peterborough from London Kings Cross on the ECML.

Andrew Gwilt (Continued)   13/04/2017 at 00:18

Was thinking if Crosscountry could of kept its Brighton service from Birmingham, Manchester and Newcastle and possibly to Eastbourne even though it didn't happen. Crosscountry usually operates to Southampton, Bournemouth, Poole, Weymouth, Exeter St. Davids, Truro, Plymouth, Penzance and Bristol Temple Meads to & from Birmingham, Manchester, Newcastle and Liverpool and also operates from Birmingham, Manchester and Liverpool to Stansted Airport via Nottingham, Peterborough, Ely & Cambridge.

David   13/04/2017 at 12:24

Andrew, the Class 365s have operated to Doncaster and York (where they were built) in testing. Incidentally Class 317s and Class 321s have actually deputised for IC225s in the early days of ECML electrics, whilst the InterCity fleet was grounded for technical reasons.

Andrew Gwilt   13/04/2017 at 22:10

Ah right. Guess I was wrong anyway.

David   14/04/2017 at 14:25

In terms of a relief service, WAGN did actually propose a London-Doncaster stopping service which would call at Peterborough, Grantham, Newark, Retford and Doncaster, however for various reasons it did not go ahead.

Andrew JG   14/04/2017 at 20:18

Why can't Arriva Crosscountry take over the East Midlands Trains Liverpool Lime Street-Norwich route via Manchester Piccadilly and Nottingham and EMT to operate from Norwich to Lincoln, Skegness, Grimsby and Hull via Peterborough, Newark & Doncaster via using the ECML.

Unknown Train Enthusiast   15/04/2017 at 22:21

I do think that Crosscountry could plan to operate some new train services such as the Norwich-Holyhead, Norwich-Cardiff Central, Norwich-Bristol Temple Meads/Exeter St. Davids, Norwich-Birmingham New Street/Wolverhampton, Norwich-Shrewsbury/Wrexham, Southampton Central-Hull, Bournemouth-York/Scarborough and other new services that Crosscountry could operate some new services including during the Summer holidays.

Known Train Enthusiast Aka A Gwilt!   16/04/2017 at 00:14

Andrew, sorry Unknown Train Enthusiast is only touching the tip of the iceberg here. Northern could be looking at Whitehaven-Plymough via Selby opportunities whilst I hear SouthEastern are pondering the possibilities of Folkestone to Berney Arms. It's nice to know irony is not dead!

Andrew Gwilt   16/04/2017 at 16:03

Am I getting trolled? Why is it with some people trying the take the mick out of me for. Why am I getting trolled like this for. I only comment few times but it seems that some person is taking the advantage on me.

Ryan   16/04/2017 at 21:32

Changing your nickname doesn't mean that we don't know it is you, Andrew.

Andrew Gwilt   16/04/2017 at 23:23

Oh so I could be changing nicknames. Has some one actually spying on what I say that could be me or it could be someone else. Oh this could escalate even further. I swear there are spies on here.

Andrew G89   16/04/2017 at 23:40

I only comment if I need to comment. I don't usually comment as much. Plus you might be thinking of which "Andrew" has commented first.

John Webster   17/04/2017 at 12:59

Whitehaven to Plymouth via Selby would make a nice Rail Tour - but be a bit costly!

J, Leicester   18/04/2017 at 09:46

A benefit of the franchising system is the difficulty of withdrawing unprofitable services for TOCs. With the exception of the infamous Parliamentary Trains of times gone, it was far easier for British Rail to get away with cutting services to the bone in times of economic stagnation than it is today with franchise commitments and regional and national government pressures. I'm by no means a fan of the rhetoric-driven, often delusional SNP, but credit where it's due. Their record on Transport is an isolated bright spot in their legacy to date. Well done Mr. Yousaf. PS: Andrew, it's easy to tell from a comment's tone when it's you writing. You're not being "trolled" - don't take it personally, just stick to the one name and save yourself the trouble.

Andrew Gwilt   18/04/2017 at 19:26

Fine whatever.

Boris   19/04/2017 at 15:50

Don't tell people to "whatever". It's very rude, especially when they are actually being helpful.

Andrew Gwilt   20/04/2017 at 23:52

Oh please leave it out will you Boris. zzzz

Boris   20/04/2017 at 23:55

See, you can't even be nice to people who are trying to help out.

Andrew Gwilt   21/04/2017 at 15:11

To be fair Boris. Im not interested in your opinions ok. So yes this is getting old and its getting very boring. Rant over. Thank You.

Boris   26/04/2017 at 03:46

Who's interested in your opinions anyway. Yes this is getting old and boring.

Andrew Gwilt   27/04/2017 at 01:29

Do I care what you say. I'm not going to argue anymore ok Boris. End of.

Ryan   29/04/2017 at 21:26

End of yourself.

Add your comment


Rail industry Focus

View all News


The challenge of completing Crossrail

05/07/2019The challenge of completing Crossrail

With a new plan now in place to deliver Crossrail, Hedley Ayres, National Audit Office manager, major projects and programmes, takes a look at ho... more >
Preparing the industry to deliver trains for the future

04/07/2019Preparing the industry to deliver trains for the future

The move to decarbonise the rail network involves shifting to cleaner modes of traction by 2050. David Clarke, technical director at the Railway ... more >

Most Read

'the sleepers' blog

On the right track, Sulzer is awarded RISAS accreditation for Nottingham Service Centre

29/06/2020On the right track, Sulzer is awarded RISAS accreditation for Nottingham Service Centre

Following an independent audit, Sulzer’s Nottingham Service Centre has been accepted as part of the rail industry supplier approval scheme (RISAS). The accreditation reinforces the high-quality standards that are maintained by Sulzer’s... more >
read more blog posts from 'the sleeper' >


Andrew Haines, CE of Network Rail, tells BBC News his organisation could issue future rail franchises

24/06/2019Andrew Haines, CE of Network Rail, tells BBC News his organisation could issue future rail franchises

Andrew Haines, the Chief Executive of Network Rail, has told the Today programme on Radio 4's BBC’s flagship news programme that he would not rule out his organisation issuing future r... more >
Advancing the rail industry with management degree apprenticeships

08/05/2019Advancing the rail industry with management degree apprenticeships

In answering the pressing questions of how current and future generations of managers can provide solutions to high-profile infrastructure projects across the UK, Pearson Business School, part of... more >