Trains reg­u­larly miss out on sta­tions

Pub­lic left stranded on plat­forms over skip-stop

Rutherglen Reformer - - News - Jonathan Ged­des

One train a day skipped Cam­bus­lang train sta­tion but then com­pleted its jour­ney in the last month of 2016, new fig­ures have re­vealed.

The num­bers, re­vealed in a free­dom of in­for­ma­tion re­quest from the Re­former to Trans­port Scot­land, show that be­tween Novem­ber 24 and De­cem­ber 31 2016, trains ‘skip­stopped’ Cam­bus­lang train sta­tion on 36 oc­ca­sions, with 21 trains do­ing the same at Ruther­glen train sta­tion, leav­ing pas­sen­gers stranded.

Skip-stop­ping is when a train cuts sta­tions out of its jour­ney to make sure that it reaches it’s fi­nal des­ti­na­tion on time.

For ex­am­ple, a train head­ing from Larkhall to Mil­ngavie might be run­ning late, and cut out the likes of New­ton, Cam­bus­lang and Ruther­glen to make up time.

Sta­tions in town, such as Ar­gyle Street or Glas­gow Central, are less likely to be af­fected by skip-stop­ping.

The Re­former had re­quested fig­ures for all of 2016, how­ever the in­for­ma­tion on skip-stop­ping has only been kept by Sco­trail from Novem­ber 24 last year.

Trans­port Scot­land pointed to the fact that the fig­ures are less than one per cent of the to­tal num­ber of trains sched­uled to stop at Cam­bus­lang and Ruther­glen.

Clare Haughey, Ruther­glen MSP, said: “Skip-stop­ping af­fected an ex­tremely small per­cent­age of com­muter trains that served Ruther­glen and Cam­bus­lang dur­ing this pe­riod.

“Nonethe­less, for those pas­sen­gers af­fected by this, it is ex­tremely in­con­ve­nient. Even where there may be sched­ul­ing rea­sons for the de­ci­sion to skip sta­tions, Sco­trail have a duty to fully in­form cus­tomers be­fore they em­bark on their jour­ney, or on the train it­self.

“This should be done through ef­fec­tive and timely screen mes­sages, or clear tan­noy or on-board in­ter­com an­nounce­ments, so that cus­tomers can make al­ter­na­tive ar­range­ments and not be left stranded at the wrong sta­tion.”

James Kelly, Labour list MSP, said: “Last year the SNP min­is­ter Humza Yousaf promised to scrap skip-stop­ping, yet Ruther­glen and Cam­bus­lang pas­sen­gers reg­u­larly have to put up with Sco­tRail’s sham­bolic ser­vice.

“There’s noth­ing more frus­trat­ing than sit­ting in an al­ready late and over­crowded train and then it fly­ing past where you’re meant to get off.

“Yet again the Na­tion­al­ists are fail­ing to get a grip of gov­ern­ing Scot­land.”

A Trans­port Scot­land spokes­woman said: “Keep­ing Scot­land’s rail­way run­ning re­quires de­tailed plan­ning to en­sure trains and crews are in the right place at the right time.

“We ap­pre­ci­ate ‘skip-stop­ping’ can be frus­trat­ing for pas­sen­gers how­ever even a small de­lay to one ser­vice can have a real im­pact on other ser­vices through­out the day, par­tic­u­larly where crews and car­riages be­come dis­placed.

“That is why this is kept to a min­i­mum, in the case of Ruther­glen and Cam­bus­lang equat­ing to 0.3 per cent and 0.5 per cent re­spec­tively.”

Last year Sco­trail an­nounced that rush hour trains in the morn­ing and evening would no longer skip-stop, even if de­layed.

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