Abellio and the Scottish railway network

By | Category: Travel rumblings
Greater Anglia

one of Abellio’s other franchises – Greater Anglia

The decision to award the franchise to run trains in Scotland to Abellio instead of the First Group has been mentioned in the press but there are some other details available that will be of interest to readers.

For a start they are planning to revamp the Club 55 promotion whereby those aged 55 and over can just turn up on the day and but at a reduced fare. Abellio is suggesting a sort of Club 50 which I take to mean that the age limit may be dropped to 50. They are also talking of a standard class fare between any two Scottish cities starting at £5 which I take to mean only Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Inverness, Perth and Stirling. There the devil will be in the detail because it might only apply to something like fares booked online and a week in advance rather than fares obtainable on the day.

For holidaymakers the fact that they are also promising more luggage space and bike accommodation as well as more space for skis is useful as on some of the lines in the highlands, bikes are becoming more common.

What I can’t see yet is any provision to look at new railway connections or new lines such as the Borders railway system which opens next year. There is mention of a tourist ambassador but will that person be on all trains or is it just the role of one person who becomes a spokesperson?

Over the weekend, Scottish newspapers ran stories about Abellio bringing steam excursiosn onto the mainline. As a tourist venture this would have two opportunities. It would increase passenger numbers to places not necessarily frequently visited by passengers and would also raise extra cash for Abellio. But how would it work? Would Abellio contract with local heritage railway organisations such as the Scottish Railway Preservation Society which ran eleven excursions over main line tracks in 2014?

And why haven’t they tried this idea with their other franchises, Abellio Greater Anglia, Merseyrail and Northern Rail?

A lot promised or forecast. What will be delivered

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