Services scrapped in train driver dispute
Hopes high further disruption can be avoided
Around a third of train services to Rutherglen and Cambuslang were scrapped on Sunday as ScotRail were forced to run a revised service due to a shortage of drivers.
But hopes are high that a repeat this Sunday ( July 12) can be avoided.
Fresh talks between ScotRail and train drivers union Aslef took place yesterday (Tuesday) and were due to start again today.
The ongoing dispute relates to the fact train drivers work Sundays on a voluntary basis.
Dutch firm Abellio, who took over the ScotRail franchise earlier this year, say they have inherited a seven-day rail network with a sixday working week.
ScotRail had previously offered drivers a 2.5 per cent pay rise and a one-off bonus, but Aslef, who are set to ballot members on the possibility of strike action, say 1.4 per cent of that is funded by train drivers having shorter breaks, changes to their availability and flexibility, and a reduction in training.
Rail passengers in the two towns are already preparing for weekend disruption, with the line set to close between Rutherglen and Cambuslang on both Saturday and Sunday.
The weekend starts a fortnight period where ongoing work will affect the two stations, with some Newton high- level services also being affected with trains continuing to further destinations.
On Sunday past ( July 5), just three trains an hour stopped at both Rutherglen and Cambuslang, in each direction, down from four and five respectively.
After talks concluded on Tuesday, a spokesperson for Abellio, said: “We are pleased that progress is being made and look forward to more talks on Wednesday.”
Rutherglen MSP, James Kelly, described the situation as “a complete and utter shambles,” and placed the blame on the Scottish Government for not bringing the franchise into public hands.
He said: “Last year the SNP Government in Edinburgh hailed this deal, worth hundreds of millions of taxpayer cash, as world leading and cost effective – so why is it running into such problems so soon?
“The SNP need to explain why a seven day working week wasn’t factored into the bidding process, and clarify what, if any, agreements in the franchise have been breached.
“Scottish Labour back a People’s ScotRail which would allow for a public sector non-profit bid to run the railways, an operator that would be more accountable to the Scottish public. After the problems since Abellio took over, it is an idea whose time has come.”
However, a spokesperson for Transport Scotland, said: “Current franchising rules prevent public sector organisations from bidding to operate the railways.
“Prior to the ScotRail franchise competition the Scottish Government asked to change the legislation to allow public sector bids; this was refused by the UK Government, forcing us to go ahead with the franchise tendering process.
“It is made clear within the current franchise agreement that we expect a rail service which meets the needs of Scotland’s passengers to run for seven days a week and it is down to Scotrail to decide how this should be done.”
Last week, we reported that work on the £500million ‘M8, M73, M74 Motorway Improvements Project’ was set to cause rail disruption through the two towns.
The line between Rutherglen and Whifflet will be closed between Saturday, July 11, and Sunday, July 26 to allow work on the new railway bridge spanning the M8 at Baillieston to take place.
Services between Balloch/ Dalmu i r / Mi l n gav i e and Motherwell/Whifflet via Glasgow Central will be affected.
Replacement buses will run between Dalmarnock and Motherwell, calling at all stations via Whifflet.
Additional work will see the line between Rutherglen and Cambuslang completely closed on Saturday, July 11 and Sunday, July 12.
This will affect services between Glasgow Central - Cumbernauld/ Lanark/ Larkhall/ Motherwell/ Newton/Whifflet.
Passengers are advised to go to www. scotrail. co. uk for more information.
Disruption Services through Rutherglen were affected at the weekend