96 more trains
More trains put Motherwell on track for investment
A further 96 services for Motherwell (pic: Avanti)
Motherwell will become a major calling point on the West Coast main rail line and one of the best-connected locations in Scotland for cross-border travel, following timetable changes next month.
Avanti West Coast, which has taken over the franchise, has secured approval for an additional 96 services a week, more than doubling the number of weekday services from eight to 20.
It is hoped the improved connectivity will help attract investment to the area and persuade more passengers to choose the train over plane when travelling to London and Birmingham, helping with both the Scottish and UK Governments’ carbon reduction targets.
Weekend services could also planned be bolstered – with more than six times the number of Sunday services (27) and over three times as many of services on Saturday (19).
This could mean that around half the hourly Glasgow-London services and two-hourly Glasgow-Birmingham services will call at the North Lanarkshire town.
The uplift in services was planned by Avanti West Coast after taking over intercity passenger services on the West Coast Main Line last December and will be delivered in partnership with Network Rail, as part of the industry’s timetable changes that take place every May and December.
Gus Dunster, Avanti West Coast executive director of operations, said: “We are excited to make Motherwell one of the best connected places in Scotland, as we work with Network Rail to deliver a major uplift to services to and from the town.
“At Avanti West Coast we want to connect people and places to opportunity and with Motherwell set to become a major calling point on our route we’re sure it will boost Scotland’s regional economy, improve local and cross-border connectivity and encourage more passengers to make the switch from plane to train.
“We look forward to continuing to play our part in making Motherwell a key transport hub.”
Rail Minister Chris Heaton-Harris said: “It’s fantastic that Motherwell will be a major port of call for Avanti West Coast, with a significant increase in the number of services helping improve connectivity, boost the economy and encouraging people to use a greener, more sustainable form of travel between our two nations.
“As we build back better from the pandemic, boosting cross-border connections will be key to helping support, sustain and strengthen our communities as we level up the whole of the UK.”
Bill Reeve, Transport Scotland’s Director of Rail, said: “We are delighted to have worked in partnership with Avanti West Coast to enable a future increase in their cross-border services calling at Motherwell station.
“Our investment in customer facilities and services at this key station increases opportunities for commuters, business users and tourism alike.
“It also underpins a fast-growing transport hub served by not only ScotRail, Avanti West Coast and other cross-border operators, but also by local operators such as bus.
“At the right time in the future, this additional service provision will enable operators to drive market growth in joined-up journeys.
“With that we can generate a healthy future for rail across the West Coast and beyond as we seek to recover from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.”