OVERCROWDING that has caused misery for Cupar rail commuters is set to be eased following the announcement that extra carriages are to be added to a peak-time train.
Scottish Government transport minister Keith Brown confirmed this week that the 0706 service from Dundee to Edinburgh is to be extended by two carriages - providing an extra 136 seats - after North East Fife MSP Rod Campbell raised the issue at Holyrood following the axeing of a key commuter service.
The newly-formed Cupar Railway Station Users’ Group had also voiced their concerns, saying that trains were now so packed that some people had to stand for the whole journey.
Mr Campbell had called for another Dundee to Edinburgh service on weekday mornings after Network Rail refused to allow East Coast Trains to run a 0700 service from Dundee because of ‘capacity constraints’, and in May CrossCountry Trains withdrew the service that called at Cupar at 0755.
Mr Campbell welcomed the news that the 0706 service was to be extended but pledged to continue pressing for more services.
He said: “I am delighted to hear that the 0706 service from Dundee will now operate with two additional carriages.
“The transport minister has advised that this is an interim measure, delivered by Scotrail outwith the normal timetabling review process.
“Nonetheless, it will provide much needed relief for passengers travelling from Cupar and Leuchars into Edinburgh, many of whom have had to stand for the entire journey in recent weeks.
“While this move is welcome, I believe that there is more that can be done.
“A decision of Network Rail earlier this year prevented East Coast Trains from operating a 0700 service from Dundee.
“I have asked the track management authority to look again at that decision.
“Interim measures are very welcome, but I will be doing all that I can to push for permanent solutions on behalf of Fife’s commuters.”
A spokesperson for CrossCountry said: “We are sorry if customers in the Fife area are inconvenienced by the removal in May of the 0735 CrossCountry service from Dundee.
“This train now begins at Glasgow as part of wider changes to Anglo-Scottish services along the East Coast main line required by the Department for Transport.”