Passengers rail at problems with trains
A TRAIN journey to Mallaig that was disrupted and replaced with a poorly organised bus service, has been branded embarrassing by a local councillor.
Passengers were forced to abandon one of the most scenic travel routes in the world on the Glasgow to Mallaig train.
Tourists were reportedly left confused as they had to leave the train at Fort William when informed there was no staff for the last leg of the journey to Mallaig.
Travellers were forced to head for buses, but were left unaware when a bus might appear, as no members of staff had informed them where to go.
Passenger, Rod McCullagh, found himself in the midst of the commotion on Friday. In an angry email to railway bosses and an extensive list of MSPs, he said: ‘Eventually, the buses arrived but bore no destination information. Amongst the mêlée of uninformed passengers, the Scotrail person was quietly-spoken and thus inaudible to most of the crowd.
‘No one seemed to have anticipated that the customer would want to know where the buses were leaving from, going to, whether there was a train service down the road, how long was the journey, would there be refreshment or toilet stops. Just no clear information for folk who had bought tickets for a train ride.’
The absence of drivers on Friday added to the frustrations of passengers who could not travel on Tuesday due to flood water on the tracks.
Councillor Allan Henderson’s said: ‘This is a wholly unacceptable position and a sad reflection on the new franchise holder. We were able to make allowances for the Tuesday, with the adverse weather, but not staff shortages at the busiest time of the year. This is really unfair on passengers. Whether staff shortage are covered from Mallaig, Fort William or Acharacle is irrelevant, there simply must be staff available at the correct time to move passengers. This is really embarrassing to all of us in the tourist industry and no way to run a company.’
While Scotrail usually has a number of spare drivers at each depot, this time there were too many absences for it to cover, which led to the cancellation of services earlier last week and on Friday.
A Scotrail Alliance spokesman said: ‘We are sorry for the higher-than-normal level of disruption to Mallaig services in recent weeks, caused by driver sickness and flash flooding. We have already taken steps to address this and other issues.’
Flood water on the track and staff shortages caused train disruptions