Scotlad on Sunday readers' letters: Chaotic and unreliable rail service needs urgent attention

When is someone going to sort out the shambolic rail service to and from Lockerbie’s West Coast mainline rail station.

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How many meetings have MPs and MSPs from various political parties had with rail operator First Group over the past few years which now operates both Trans-Pennine Express (TPE) and Avanti (Joint Venture) contracts between Scotland and England. New rolling stock operated by TPE has not resolved the long running issues at the station and Avanti scheduled stops are few and far between and customers continue to be treated with contempt. Over the past weeks ticket holders have been unable to board trains to both Glasgow and Edinburgh due to overcrowding and are denied full refunds of their ticket costs having to pay administration fees through no fault of their own.

The main issues are TPE’s restrictive online booking system that does not allow customers to book seats but allows further ticket sales which manifests itself in the train being oversubscribed. Lockerbie Station itself is managed by Scotrail. Staff do their very best to assist but are in a difficult situation given the structural contract arrangements.

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This requires urgent attention by Grant Shapps, UK Secretary of State for Transport, Alister Jack, Secretary of State for Scotland and Michael Matheson MSP, Cabinet Secretary for transport in Scotland.

A miner pushes a cart containing coal out from a mine in Qianwei county in China's southwestern province of Sichuan, but should the UN continue to designate China and India as "developing nations". (Photo: LIU JIN/AFP via Getty Images)
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James Bell, Lockerbie

Taxing climate

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China and India are shortly going to receive £1.5 billion in "climate aid" of which the UK taxpayers will pay £38 million.

Why are British taxpayers giving money to two of the fastest growing economies in the world who have no intention of reducing their emissions? The reason is that the UN designates China and India as "developing nations".

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That is patently absurd especially since China and India spend trillions on their space programmes. The UK public and businesses are now experiencing the highest tax levels in 70 years. The UK should refuse to pay this £38 million and use it to alleviate fuel poverty and homelessness in the UK.

Clark Cross, Linlithgow

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Party politics

As if all the allegations of corruption and duplicity by Boris Johnson’s Tory cabal in Westminster were not bad enough, we now hear that, in flagrant disregard of the rules in force at the time, drinks parties were being held in Downing Street last Christmas. The country was in lockdown, but apparently rules designed to keep the public safe did not, by whatever magic, apply in that special place!

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And yet, as we see from the Old Bexley and Sidcup by-election result, people are still prepared to vote Tory. Can anyone still really believe that we are better together with this lot?

David Howdle, Dumfries

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Case dismissed

A compassionate and timely article by Euan McColm on the subject of refugees in the paper on November 28. It is a pity that McColm was so critical and dismissive of Jeremy Corbyn when he was Labour Party leader. Corbyn’s long standing involvement in campaigning against racism would suggest that had he got into government he would have taken some practical steps to treat refugees and asylum seekers with dignity and humanity.

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Arthur West, Irvine

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