Could new rail routes in Dundee and Tayside get on track?

Residents have welcomed a proposed vision for the future of rail travel in Tayside.

Railfuture Scotland, which represents rail users, has issued a map to show the changes the group believes are needed to modernise the rail network.

Jane Ann Liston, secretary of RailFuture Scotland, said: “This is the service Tayside needs to be fit for the 21st Century.

“Our vision is based on the travel to work data from the 2011 census, so it should reflect real patterns.”

The map includes new stations at Dundee Airport, Wormit and West Ferry, as well as a new route to St Andrews.

Its release is part of a drive to create a commuter route from Carnoustie through to St Andrews.

It also shows new routes from Perth to Aberdeen via Forfar, as well as to Edinburgh and to the west.

Robert Blackley, 56, said the plans sounded like a great idea.

The semi-retired chimney sweep from the Hilltown said: “Rail travel is still an important and viable way to travel, particularly locally. I think the prices tend to be OK but more regular services and a commuter route would benefit Dundee massively.

“I sometimes take the train to Glasgow for shopping and I’d be encouraged to use the train even more with more routes, trains and options.”

Alison French, 47, a cook from Broughty Ferry, welcomed the plan to introduce more local services.

She said: “I think it should stop more often in Broughty Ferry.

“If I want to take the train I come to Dundee some other way and travel from the station, but there should be more frequent services from the Ferry — the station is there.

“I would make a lot of use of a commuter route.”

Roderick McDougall, vice-chair of Railfuture Scotland, said: “Dundee will be benefitting from the Waterfront project, with increased tourism and commuting a very likely result.

“An easy link with the picturesque seaside towns of St Andrews and Broughty Ferry would benefit everyone.”

He added that trains were still a popular means of travel.

He said: “Despite all the news about cancellations and high ticket prices, trains still appeal to a lot of people.

“If you improve the services then people would be happy to use trains — and that would be great for the environment.”

Anne Everett-Ogston, 47, a support worker from Newport said the issue was with the frequency of services and overcrowded trains deterring travellers.

She said: “I’ve had difficulty getting a seat recently — the carriages are often packed making long journeys uncomfortable.”

Meanwhile, Owen Lynch, 21, a college student in Kirkcaldy, said that people not paying their fare was a problem, particularly on shorter journeys.

He said: “A lot of the time people manage to get on the train without paying for their journey as the conductors don’t come and get their money, which I don’t think is fair.

“That could happen more on local services and those paying would have to take up the slack.”

Meg Kelly, 18, and Thomas McCrae, 24, both mentioned cost as the major reason they don’t use trains as often as they’d like.

They agreed that a more frequent, well-used and cheaper service would be a great thing for the city.

Railfuture Scotland, with has 20,000 affiliated and individual members, said its vision would boost employment, social and commercial centres.

Mr McDougall said: “Whereas it is Network Rail’s job to look after the network and Scotrail’s job to operate passenger trains on it, there appears to be no-one charged with looking at extending and improving the network.

“We’re offering a well-researched plan.”

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