Direct Stirling-London link set to be axed at end of 2024 as consultation concludes

Stirling’s only direct rail link with London will be axed later this year after the operator of the service announced the results of a consultation.

LNER outlined the changes in January - proposing the axing of the 5.34am direct service between Stirling and London Kings Cross, as well as the 3pm London-Stirling train in the opposite direction.

The move was mooted due to “substantially fewer numbers” on board the service, as well as changing travel patterns from business to leisure.

It was put out for consultation with passengers, with the survey running until March 18 - with LNER then considering the responses before making their final call.

The move will come as a blow for the city’s travel links and follows positive news that operator Grand Union Trains have been given the thumbs up to run their own service between Stirling and London Euston on the West Coast main line.

That service is hoped to be up and running from summer 2025 - with the goal of running three trains a day on the line.

In a document seen by the Observer, LNER confirmed the changes to its schedule from December, including the removal of the direct trains between Stirling and the UK capital.

The consultation received a total of 265 responses, with 26 of these related to the Stirling service.

All of the responses were recorded as objections for reasons including the unreliability of other operators; increased journey times; and removing the possibility of day trips between the two destinations via LNER services.

In its conclusions, the report says: “LNER services to Glasgow and Stirling extensions are not well utilised, and there remains alternative rail options for those wishing to travel to/from London.

“The removals are aimed to create a more efficient and reliable railway, and therefore aim to support modal shift towards long distance rail.

“The removal of LNER Glasgow and Stirling services will not have a significant impact to customers who are travelling to the East Coast from Glasgow/Motherwell given the frequency of available connections.

“Stirling will still retain direct connectivity to the East Coast main line achieved by both Stirling and Falkirk Grahamston being served by LNER’s daily Inverness service, which currently calls at Stirling at 10.34 southbound and 17.19 northbound; and at Falkirk Grahamston at 10.48 southbound and 17.03 northbound.”

The report adds:“There will be no job losses as a result of these proposals.”