Page last updated at 23:55 GMT, Sunday, 18 May 2008 00:55 UK

Slam-door carriages on rail route

By Kevin Keane
Fife reporter, BBC Scotland news website

British Rail Mark 1 carriage
Carriages would be newer versions of these British Rail trains

Old fashioned slam-door carriages will be used to ease overcrowding on a busy commuter route, First ScotRail said.

The company has appealed for six old carriages to be hauled by a locomotive on the Fife circle line between Kirkcaldy, Dunfermline and Edinburgh.

The solution has been reached because the new Stirling to Alloa line will take some freight off the Forth Bridge.

Labour MSP Claire Baker has warned that a need to manually close doors could significantly increase journey times.

First ScotRail wants to introduce two extra services a day from May 2009 through to December 2010, running at peak times.

The temporary introduction of hauled trains would fill a gap until the electrification of the Airdrie to Bathgate route. That would free up additional diesel trains to run on the Fife line.

In a statement, First ScotRail said: "This is good news for customers as it means more trains and more seats across the Scottish rail network. It's a short-term solution while we wait for our new trains to arrive in 2010.

"Locomotive-hauled diesel trains operate on the East Coast Main Line very successfully. Our priority is our passengers and this is the best solution to meet the growing demand for rail travel."

'Bad mood'

Claire Baker, Labour MSP for Central Scotland and Fife, said: "There's a real problem that it might just be extending the journey times.

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Quick tour and verdict on the slam-door carriages

"While people might be quite happy having a seat on the train, I don't think they will be particularly happy that the journey's taking longer, especially when they are trying to commute into work."

One commuter at Inverkeithing said: "They are needing more carriages and it's been said for years now. It's just appalling the way people are crowded in."

Another commented: "You have got to stand up, it's hot, everyone's in a bad mood. It's basically not very good value for money."

Similar rolling stock was used on the Edinburgh to Berwick route before it was upgraded.

Roger Haynes, from the Scottish Rail Preservation Society, which runs excursions, said commuters grew fond of the old trains.

"They were quite sorry to see them go when they were replaced with the ordinary units which are not as comfortable to ride in," he said.


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