Jul 022015

ScotRail has confirmed that ongoing train driver unavailability will force it to reduce the number of trains in the timetable on Sundays, starting this weekend, Sunday 5 July. At this stage only Sunday train services are affected.

While ScotRail will run fewer trains on a Sunday, most of those trains will have more carriages and, in so doing, provide almost the same capacity on every route as is offered by the current services. ScotRail will also operate bus services to enable important connections with ferry services.

The final timetable will be published on Thursday 2 July, but ScotRail is asking customers to take action now so that they can plan ahead for the weekend. A dedicated webpage has been set up at www.scotrail.co.uk/sundays where all temporary timetables will be published alongside any other relevant information.

The reason for the unavailability of train drivers is that Sunday rail services in Scotland are partly dependent on voluntary cover being provided by train drivers. The number of train drivers volunteering for Sunday work has declined steeply in recent days due to ongoing pay negotiations, resulting in a reduction of trains on Sundays.

ScotRail has tabled an offer which would see train drivers receive a 2.5% pay rise and, in addition, a one-off £500 bonus payment for ensuring that Sunday services are covered. Added together, this amounts to a 3.7% offer for 2015-16. This offer has not been accepted yet.

ScotRail has also proposed a solution to the volunteering on Sundays issue by committing to create up to 100 more jobs in Scotland for new train drivers – almost an extra 10% increase in current train driver numbers. This will mean that Sunday train services are robust in the future and not dependent on train drivers’ volunteering.

Phil Verster, Managing Director of the ScotRail Alliance said:

“We have inherited a business that runs a seven day railway with a system of staff rostering that covers only six days. Our customers want the same level of service right throughout the week, so we have to make changes and improve our railway. We cannot expect our train drivers to volunteer for so many Sundays when our rosters should reflect a modern, seven-day railway for Scotland.

“We have made an offer to our train drivers that would see them get more pay, have less weekend working and have a better work/life balance. Our further commitment to employ up to 100 new train drivers will make our Sunday services robust.

“I sincerely hope we can reach an agreement with our train drivers and our unions on this proposal. A 3.7% total pay offer is substantial and our commitment to make Sundays a part of the working week modernises our railway and is a significant work-life balance benefit for our train drivers.

“We do not want to reduce the number of services on a Sunday or any other day. It is not a decision that we take lightly, but we must be able to give our customers certainty about which services will be running and which ones won’t.

“We really want to get the situation resolved and we remain open to discussing our proposals and options with our unions.”

Jun 222015

Campaign Card for 2015The local rail service from Edinburgh to Berwick, together with the re-opening of the two stations at Reston and East Linton, may not now happen until 2018, despite previous intimations that this could happen by December 2016.  RAGES are extremely disappointed by this, and concerned that the service and the new stations may not materialise, despite their almost twenty years of campaigning.

RAGES are asking people to campaign with them by downloading a postcard, printing, signing and returning to the Transport Minister, asking him to ensure that our local service and our stations are Kept on Track.

Please do this as soon as possible.

Working together, we WILL keep our stations on track!

CampaignCard2015-page-001RAGES have also created a letter which you might like to use as a template to send to your local councillor, MSP or MP (or all three!), encouraging them to press for better rail services in your area.

RAGES is always looking for new members, especially from East Lothian and Berwickshire.

(original article can be seen here)

Apr 042015

Saltire Executive Travel LogoNeil from Saltire Executive Travel will be joining David Caldwell on Radio Saltire’s Brunch show this Easter Holiday Monday for a discussion about holiday travel and organisation.

Neil’s business specialises in Golf and Sporting Trips, City Breaks, Florida and other Far and Away Places. He’ll be in the studio to tell us all about himself and his business as well as details about the most popular European and Worldwide destinations for this summer.

Hopefully, he’s also have time to answer a few questions, so why not get in touch if you’d like to ask him something about your upcoming plans?

Send an email to the studio now on studio@radiosaltire.org or use our Facebook page or SMS number (07507 33 22 44) during the show.

Neil is due in the studio around 11am Monday 6th April.

Jan 252014

East Lothian BusesPencaitland Main Street is closed while the gas main is upgraded.

As a result the LRT Bus 113 is terminating in Ormiston. A special shuttle bus has been provided by East Lothian Council that will run from New Winton to Ormiston.

The Prentice service 123 is also affected by these works.

Please see the following links for more details:

May 292013

Police ScotlandChildren from an East Lothian school will be taking part in a new road safety campaign to raise driver awareness of the dangers of speeding, particularly around schools.

Pupils from Dirleton Primary School will be made Junior Road Safety Officers and will work with Police Scotland to highlight good and bad driving habits to motorists.

The speeding initiative will take place on a stretch of road outside the primary school on Thursday 30th May.

Police officers will stop drivers and speak with them before inviting JRSOs over to participate.

The pupils will ask the drivers a series of questions and then fill in a short questionnaire with the answers.

The children will be in hi-visibility clothing at all times and will remain on the footpath when they approach the drivers, who will be asked to pull over at the lay-bys on both lanes of the road.

Speed-gun checks will also be carried out on the road during the event and anyone found to be driving above the limit for the area will be appropriately dealt with.

Inspector Bob Rodriguez from Police Scotland’s Lothian and Scottish Borders Division said:

Our new campaign to tackle speeding will our Junior Road Safety Officers an active role in learning about road safety.

By getting the pupils involved directly, drivers can really see how their actions could impact on school children.

This initiative has been carried out to great success on other parts of Scotland, and has been shown to have an impact on driving behaviour around schools.