- 20 Feb 2019
Date received: 3 Jan 2019
Date responded: 31 Jan 2019
1. Records of any communications or discussions between Scotrail and Transport Scotland regarding the change to the timetable which resulted in the removal of the Monday -Saturday daytime direct service from Linlithgow to Stirling and Dunblane.
2. Details of the criteria and assessment used by Transport Scotland in their consideration of the removal of the Monday – Saturday daytime direct service to Stirling and Dunblane, including the potential impact on passengers from Linlithgow to intermediate stations to Dunblane, as well as onward connections from Stirling.
3. Details of any consultation with residents or civic and elected representatives of Linlithgow undertaken by Transport Scotland – or to the knowledge of Transport Scotland - over these timetable changes.
4. How the impact of this loss of service on passengers from Linlithgow will be monitored in advance of planning the May and December 2019 timetable changes.
5. Are there any factors that would prevent the re-introduction of a direct Monday – Saturday daytime service from Linlithgow to Stirling and Dunblane.
1, 2: In response to your questions I have labelled 1 and 2 above, I have prepared the enclosed table in Annex A. This table contains extracted information directly related to your request from a number of source documents. To note where the majority of the content of a document relates to your information request I have embedded the entire document into the table in Annex A.
The document included in the table in Annex A against the 14 August 2017 entry which is referencing a Yammer group exchange has elements redacted. An exception under regulation 11(2) of the EIRs (personal information) applies to some of the information contained in the document because it is personal data of a third party and disclosing it would contravene the data protection principles in Article 5(1) of the General Data Protection Regulation and in section 34(1) of the Data Protection Act 2018. This exception is not subject to the ‘public interest test’, so we are not required to consider if the public interest in disclosing the information outweighs the public interest in applying the exception.
Two documents which contain information in relation to your information request have been withheld. Details of these documents and why they have been withheld are summarised in Annex B.
3: In response to your question I have labelled 3 above, I can confirm when planning changes to the timetable the responsible organisation, ScotRail, is required to undertake consultation with a number of organisations including relevant Local Authorities and Regional Transport Partnerships (RTPs). These organisations also have responsibility for transportation at local, regional and national levels and provide an impartial view of the benefits (or otherwise) of the proposals as they may affect the majority of rail users, rather than focusing on individuals journeys.
The December 2018 timetable change required ScotRail to consult on a wider range of stakeholders than normal due to its complexity and scale of change. Initial consultation took place with the relevant RTPs, in this case Sestran and Tactran, in late 2015. Detailed discussions took place during 2016 resulting in Tactran commissioning an independent assessment of the impact on a number of affected customers, including those between Stirling and Polmont / Linlithgow. This concluded that the overall benefits to the majority of rail users in the corridor outweighed the negative impact to the relatively small numbers of customers who would now have to interchange.
Local Authorities including West Lothian, Falkirk and Stirling Councils were brought into discussions in June 2016 and, following these, the structure of the timetable was finalised. Since then updates on the detailed development of the timetable have been provided to Transport Focus, public forums organised by both Sestran and Tactran, presentations to the RTP boards and commercial bus operators.
4: In response to your question I have labelled 4 above, there are mechanisms within the Franchise Agreement that enable Transport Scotland to monitor patronage levels on a regular basis. This enables Transport Scotland to monitor passenger levels to ensure these timetable changes have reduced overcrowding on the route, improved journey times, and provided a more reliable service across the whole of the day for the majority of passengers.
The December 2018 timetable change is an interim timetable while the delayed new Hitachi Class 385 trains are delivered. May 2019 will see further improvements by providing consistent journey times throughout the day, journey time savings of up to 10 minutes (again for the majority of passengers), and reduce the interchange time at Falkirk Grahamston.
ScotRail has recently published their draft timetable plans and this is available on their website:-
ScotRail has encouraged any public comments to be submitted by email at email@example.com
5: In response to your question I have labelled 5 above, I can confirm that there are no plans at this time to re-introduce a direct Monday – Saturday daytime service from Linlithgow to Stirling and Dunblane, as doing so would negate the benefits of the significant government investment in electrifying this route.
The Scottish Government is committed to publishing all information released in response to Freedom of Information requests. View all FOI responses at http://www.gov.scot/foi-responses.
Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000
The Scottish Government
St Andrews House