Plans to cut CrossCountry trains to Aberdeen to be scrapped

CrossCountry rail ervices from Edinburgh to Aberdeen were slated to be reduced. Picture: Contributed

CrossCountry rail ervices from Edinburgh to Aberdeen were slated to be reduced. Picture: Contributed

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Plans to reduce CrossCountry train services to and from the north-east of Scotland have been scrapped.

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The company confirmed it has withdrawn proposed timetable changes that would have resulted in four of the six services operating between Aberdeen and Edinburgh being cut from December.

A 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.”

Transport Scotland said the decision was taken after Transport Minister Humza Yousaf wrote to UK Rail Minister Paul Maynard.

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Mr Yousaf said: “I’m very pleased that the Department for Transport and CrossCountry trains have seen sense and withdrawn this proposed timetable.

“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.

“These services fill important timetable gaps and act as a main 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.”

He said an agreement is now in place so Transport Scotland is fully consulted to ensure future proposed changes are “mutually acceptable”.

Scottish Liberal Democrat transport spokesman Mike Rumbles MSP said his party had been instrumental in securing the services.

He said: “In January the Transport Minister more or less admitted that he was in the dark about how the service franchise is run, and had done nothing about providing a solution. Thankfully the Lib Dems were there to shine a light on the situation.

“The Transport Minister was right to urge CrossCountry to change course and commuters up and down the east coast will be grateful that these changes will not now be going ahead.”

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