ScotRail timetable change: Edinburgh restaurant 21212's director Katie O'Brien speaks of cancellations due to train times

The director of a popular Edinburgh restaurant has blasted ScotRail’s new temporary timetable after the venue experienced several cancellations stemming from the reduction in services.

By Neil Johnstone
Tuesday, 24th May 2022, 4:55 am

Katie O’Brien, director of Michelin star restaurant 21212, took to Twitter to vent about the train changes after receiving a cancellation.

She said: “If you can't go for dinner in your capital city because you can't get home, something is wrong.”

As of today more than 700 train services will no longer be available following a dispute regarding pay and overtime between recently nationalised ScotRail and worker unions RMT and Aslef.

Katie O'Brien opened 21212 with her partner Paul Kitching in 2009

The new reduced timetable will force visitors to the capital to leave on earlier services with the last train to Glasgow leaving at 10:15pm and the service to Fife and Dundee now departing at 8pm.

Speaking to the Edinburgh Evening News today, Ms O’Brien said: “You can’t just cut off a big section of the day and say that everybody needs to be out of the city by eight o’clock at night.

“I know it’s supposed to be temporary but I don’t know how long its going to go on for but we’re getting into the summer season and we’ve got tourists from all over wanting to head out of Edinburgh or into Edinburgh.”

Ms O’Brien said that fewer trains not only poses implications for future restaurant reservations but that their small team of staff are also feeling the affect.

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She said: “We have quite a few staff who live outwith the city centre and all of a sudden its like how are they going to get to work, or more of a worry, back home from work late at night?

“That would affect an awful lot of people in the industry in Edinburgh."

Ms O’Brien continued: “I don’t know how long this crisis is going to go on for but if it went on for too long then people might have to reassess whether they can actually afford to work in the city centre.”

A number of people responded to the restaurant’s tweet with one person describing Scotland’s train service as a ‘third world’ one.

One man replied: “Last train home to Musselburgh now 19:40 so having a night out in town just got very expensive when you have to add a £20+ taxi to get home.”

He added: “We're already looking at more local options for dining out.”

Another responded saying: “Our last train home to Livingston is now 21:21, the latest kick in the teeth to the industry. It’s over £30 for a taxi home so something will have to give. Hopefully it’s something that rectifies itself quickly but not confident.”

Last week ScotRail apologised for the disruption to train services stating they “remain open to further talks with the trade unions.”

They added: “We know what customers want more than anything is certainty and reliability, which is why we are introducing a temporary timetable.”

As the hospitality sector continues to recover from the pandemic, Ms O’Brien hopes that this next hurdle is resolved quickly.

She said: “Any country to have a train system like that is appalling frankly – especially coming into the summer season of a tourist country.

“Nights out are special and you don’t want to be looking at your watch thinking ‘I really need to get going’.”