Short­age of staff blamed for chaos on trains

Stirling Observer - - FRONT PAGE - Chris Marzella

Stir­ling area rail pas­sen­gers were among thou­sands across Scotland who faced dis­rup­tion over Scotrail staff short­ages.

Trav­ellers head­ing be­tween Stir­ling and Ed­in­burgh and Glas­gow faced lengthy de­lays and se­verely over­crowded ser­vices.

Some ser­vices op­er­ated with fewer car­riages whilst oth­ers faced al­ter­ations and can­cel­la­tions.

Dis­rup­tion con­tin­ued into Mon­day. Com­muters were alerted to a num­ber of can­cel­la­tions of jour­neys to Ed­in­burgh, in­clud­ing the 7.17am, 7.31am, 8.07am and 8.37am ser­vices.

Scotrail apol­o­gised for the dis­rup­tions and blamed staff train­ing ahead of the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the new De­cem­ber timetable for the chaos. A spokesper­son said:“The ma­jor­ity of the im­pact is a re­sult of our fi­nal push to de­liver the De­cem­ber timetable im­prove­ments which will bring faster jour­neys, more seats, and more ser­vices for our cus­tomers.”

The new timetable will be in­tro­duced on Sun­day and re­quires train­ing for driv­ers and con­duc­tors, ac­cord­ing to Scotrail.

In Oc­to­ber, rail union RMT con­firmed that an‘in­def­i­nite ban’on over­time and rest day work­ing would come into force on Scotrail af­ter mem­bers voted over­whelm­ingly for ac­tion in a dis­pute over equal­ity and jus­tice for all grades over rest day work­ing pay­ments.

Pas­sen­gers hit out at the travel chaos with one, Sue McAl­lis­ter, com­ment­ing: “I was on the 11.43am to Queen Street which was de­layed be­cause of over­crowd­ing and staff short­ages. It left Stir­ling around 12. When they say stand­ing room only, it was so cramped that you couldn’t move your arms up to scratch your nose.”

Kirstie McMinn said:“The Ed­in­burgh train at 12.07pm on Satur­day only had two car­riages. It was ab­so­lutely manic.”

Mandy McCal­lum added:“We had al­ready got re­turn train tick­ets to Glas­gow Queen Street, two adults and two kids from Stir­ling. On re­turn­ing to Glas­gow Queen street around 6pm, trains were de­layed and the train sta­tion was packed out with peo­ple hav­ing waited an hour and half. We walked to Buchanan Street bus sta­tion af­ter ad­vice from a po­lice­man and got a bus to Stir­ling. Another £28.”

An­drea Strang said:“Staff short­ages tells its own story. Must be as bad work­ing for Scotrail as trav­el­ling on one of its trains.”

Les­ley Ark­i­son said:“We went to Ed­in­burgh on Satur­day from Stir­ling. The re­turn train at 5.07pm was can­celled due to staff short­age so the 5.37pm was rammed full. Two trains worth of peo­ple crammed in to one train. We had to stand all the way home. Car­riage­way and door ar­eas were dan­ger­ously cramped. Thank­fully there was no emergency, but I shud­der to think if there had been. I don’t travel by train of­ten and Satur­day re­minds me why. I pity ev­ery­one who reg­u­larly has to use trains”

Stir­ling MSP Bruce Craw­ford has now writ­ten to the man­ag­ing di­rec­tor of Scotrail asked the com­pany to con­firm how many can­cel­la­tions there were and how such dis­rup­tion was al­lowed to hap­pen with no staffing cover, and what mea­sures are be­ing un­der­taken to en­sure that this does not hap­pen again.

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