Scotrail's issues: Everything you need to know

It's been a particularly challenging time for ScotRail of late.

Monday, 10th December 2018, 4:40 pm
Updated Monday, 10th December 2018, 4:55 pm
ScotRail has been faced with a number of issues of late.

An overtime ban in place for certain groups of staff, combined with staff training ahead of new trains being delivered along with a new timetable, has lead to dozens of ScotRail services being cancelled due to staff shortages.

Staff Training

Last week saw a shortage of staff on ScotRail services as the train operator aimed to train them in time to run the extra trains being brought in along with the new timetable on Sunday.

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But it meant the routine scrapping of services in order for employees to undertake the training.

And Transport Secretary Michael Matheson blasted the train operator over a lack of public communication with regards to the staff training issues, saying it should have been made clear at an earlier stage.

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ScotRail cancel Edinburgh to Perth services due to train crew shortage

Overtime Ban

The Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT) warned of the threat of disruption after imposing an indefinite overtime ban in October.

It followed an overwhelming majority of conductors and other staff voting for the action over being paid less than drivers for working on days off. The union instructed its 3,500 members involved not to volunteer for overtime or work on "rest days" from midnight on 10 October "until further notice".

But last Wednesday it emerged that the pay dispute appeared to have been finally settled, with a letter signed by ScotRail and RMT officials saying union members have been offered an extra three hours' pay for working on their days off.

The combination of the overtime ban and staff training issues has contributed to the cancellation of several services in the past week.

On Thursday, hundreds of commuters between Edinburgh and Perth faced disruption after five services were cancelled in the morning.

Some services between Edinburgh and Tweedbank were also abandoned on Friday.

Earlier in the week, a shortage of crew members to run the trains affected more than 30 services including the Borders railway, the Fife Circle and Edinburgh to Glasgow via Falkirk High.

Impact on Workers

Social media has been littered with complaints from commuters not being able to get to work on time because of the continuous delays and disruption.

The Evening News revealed today that an Edinburgh businessman has even vowed to never again employ rail commuters because a key member of his staff has been repeatedly been affected by the disruption.

John McKee, director of Hanover Healthfoods, relies on senior employee Rachel Bell to open the shop at 9:30am every day. But she said her train service from Aberdour in Fife had been so unreliable that he regularly had to draft in colleagues at short notice or come in himself when she was late.

Overcrowding on the busiest services is another common complaint on social media, as sometimes trains are too busy to board which means commuters are late for work.

Decoupled Train

At the end of November, passengers in Uphall were left stranded after a ScotRail train uncoupled and sped off leaving carriages full of rush-hour commuters stranded.

Passengers in the back three carriages of the 5.20pm train from Waverley to Helensburgh Central were bemused after discovering the front half of the service had departed without them.

People on board the abandoned carriages were forced to activate the emergency release to open the doors and waited more than half an hour until British Transport Police and an engineer arrived at the scene.

New Timetable

A new timetable introduced by ScotRail on Sunday has 100 extra daily services including a new half-hourly link between Edinburgh and Glasgow via Cumbernauld.

ScotRail says it will deliver faster journeys, more seats and more services for its customers as part of the changes.