Angus MP Mike Weir has held a fact-finding mission into what the new franchise will mean for local rail services.
Mr Weir met with David Horne, managing director of Virgin Trains East Coast, and other members of the Franchise Transition Team from the new franchise operators to discuss their plans for the East Coast service following their takeover on March 1.
The MP specifically raised the issue of the future of the service for Montrose and Arbroath, which he had previously raised with Ministers and with the company, and in respect of which he had previously not received a satisfactory response.
“I have now received an assurance that the current services are timetabled through to at least 2020, which is half way through the franchise, and they had no plans to seek alterations to the service provided to either Montrose or Arbroath,” he revealed.
“That reassurance is welcome but given the previous difficulties there have been with franchises on this service I will continue to keep a close eye on what is happening as it progresses. Indeed it is a pity that neither government ministers nor the company itself gave this assurance in response to my previous questions.”
Mr Weir added that the new operators were confident that they were in a good position to make the franchise a success.
“I wish them well in the franchise as this is an important service for Angus giving direct rail services to the major cities along the East Coast and London. The franchise does, however, have a rather chequered history with two previous private operators pulling out and it having to be brought back into state ownership.”