Lack of help at train sta­tions is high­lighted

The Oban Times - - News -

HELP points at the West High­land Line’s ru­ral and re­mote rail­way sta­tions are not staffed when trains run be­tween mid­night and 6am, Con­nel Com­mu­nity Coun­cil heard last week.

One lo­cal pas­sen­ger told coun­cil­lors he only dis­cov­ered the help points were un­manned when he trav­elled early to at­tend a re­mem­brance day ser­vice on Novem­ber 11, and the con­duc­tor in­formed him the train was ter­mi­nat­ing at Cri­an­larich due to ‘staff short­ages’.

‘There is no in­for­ma­tion or help ser­vice avail­able at Con­nel Ferry sta­tion when the first train of the day de­parts at 5.32am,’ he said.

‘Con­se­quently, there is no travel in­for­ma­tion and no means of call­ing for as­sis­tance in an emer­gency – other than by mo­bile phone if there is a sig­nal or from the vil­lage phone box or by knock­ing on the near­est house door.

‘I find it strange the con­tract with the train ser­vice provider ap­par­ently does not in­clude the re­quire­ment for these sta­tion con­tact ser­vices to be avail­able when­ever trains are run­ning, es­pe­cially at re­mote un­manned sta­tions.’

Sco­tRail apol­o­gised and ex­plained: ‘The help points are avail­able from 6am to 11.59pm Mon­day to Satur­day and 8am to 23.59pm on Sun­days. At un­manned sta­tions, these should al­ways be the first port of call for cus­tomers with in­quiries.

‘A small num­ber of ser­vices op­er­ate be­fore and af­ter the open­ing hours of our cus­tomer ser­vice cen­tre in Dun­fermline. In ur­gent sit­u­a­tions, when help points are un­manned, cus­tomers can call for as­sis­tance on 0141 335 5240. In an emer­gency, as al­ways, cus­tomers should dial 999. We also pro­vide 24-hour live train in­for­ma­tion through our web­site and app.’

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