Commuters face travel chaos as ScotRail staff strike

Passengers on the platform at Haymarket Station, Edinburgh. Picture: Ian Georgeson
Passengers on the platform at Haymarket Station, Edinburgh. Picture: Ian Georgeson
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COMMUTERS were facing more disruption today as the latest strike action by members of the RMT union looks set to bring rail services to a standstill across central Scotland.

Services between Edinburgh and East Lothian were cancelled with no replacement buses, forcing hundreds of commuters from North Berwick and Dunbar to take to the roads or stay at home.

Trains between Glasgow Queen Street and Edinburgh are due to stop running between 7pm and 7.30pm disrupting the travel plans of thousands more.

In total, 15 ScotRail services are being cancelled, just seven of which will have replacement bus services. The Edinburgh to Aberdeen, Dyce and Inverurie service was among those cancelled without replacement buses.

A further ten services will operate on a reduced service, as the stand-off between the union and the rail operator continues.

Members of the RMT union have taken the action in protest at the increased use of trains without guards, with the driver opening and closing the doors at stations instead. It says trains are less safe without dedicated guards on board, but ScotRail has stressed it would always ensure a second member of staff was on hand.

Commuter Ashley Davies, an editor at a creative agency who lives in North Berwick and works in Edinburgh, said she wasn’t sure how she was going to manage on the next planned strike day on Thursday.

She said: “I don’t drive, so I’d have to cadge a lift off my husband, but he’d planned to work from home tomorrow so I’ll have to do the same. I do need to be in later in the week, so I’m not sure what I’ll do.

“It’s incredibly annoying, but I support those taking industrial action 100 per cent.”

In a statement on its website, ScotRail said: “We have a responsibility to keep you moving during this RMT rail strike and we take that very seriously. We’re running around 70 per cent of services on strike days.”

The company urged people to check its website for updates and, if possible, book their tickets in advance.

With no end in sight to the dispute, the next scheduled days of strike action on Thursday, Saturday and Sunday threaten to thwart the plans of golf fans looking to get to Troon for the beginning of The Open.

Although ScotRail has said that trains between Glasgow and Troon will run on an increased frequency with more carriages on championship days, the ongoing disruption will make it difficult for people to get to Glasgow Central in order for their connecting service to Ayrshire.

newsen@edinburghnews.com