‘£2300 a year and I can’t get a seat’: On board Scotland’s busiest train

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ANGRY commuters have hit out at Scotrail over the delays, cancellations and overcrowding on their busiest services.

Thousands of passengers rely on the train to get them to and from work in the Capital every day but many are unhappy with the level of service provided by the rail company.

Last week it was revealed that the 4.34pm service from Edinburgh to Perth is Scotland’s most overcrowded journey. The two-carriage train has carried 234 passengers despite its official capacity being 172 seated and standing.

Fiona Cunningham from Kirkcaldy travels on the 16.34 train every other week after changing her hours of work so she no longer had to use it daily. She gets on Haymarket which is the closest station to her job in the financial district.

She told the Evening News: “I’m fed up with this service totally. I managed to change my hours to get earlier trains because of it.”

She is angry that despite forking out for an annual rail ticket she has to stand while others who have bought of-peak tickets claim the seats. She said: “We have to stand and it’s not fair. I pay nearly £2300 for an annual season pass but because the train leaves Waverley Station at 4.34pm it is classed as an off-peak train. You’ve got folk standing who’ve paid full price and people who’ve paid off-peak can get a seat - it’s not on.”

Waiting on the busy platform, she was unsurprised when the scheduled train was cancelled, leaving waiting commuters to get on the next service to Glenrothes. She added: “Last year we were told that by this summer we were going to get three carriages on the service but it has never happened. Sometimes the train goes past and doesn’t stop. We haven’t got a voice, they don’t listen to us.”

Carol Pake, from Markinch, who uses the 4.34pm train daily said: “The service is shocking. You never get a seat on the Perth train. You’ve got to really scrabble on. We pay a high price and we don’t get the benefit. It’s always been the same issue and there’s been no change. Therehas always been overcrowding and cancellations and Scotrail don’t have an excuse.”

The two-carriage service to Glenrothes was jam-packed as commuters from the cancelled Perth train piled on. Passengers stood in the aisles and crowded by the doors for the journey. Fiona is not convinced that Scotrail will improve the service. She said: “They’re telling lies. It won’t change.”

A ScotRail spokesman said: “The work we are doing to introduce brand new and upgraded trains will significantly boost the number of seats available to our customers across the country.”

A Transport Scotland spokeswoman said: “We wholly appreciate the impact of overcrowding on rail services. Our £475 million investment in the new Hitachi trains, as well as £54 million in a fleet of fully refurbished High Speed Trains, will transform travel across our key routes and inter-city rail travel between our seven cities.

“By 2019 we will have increased capacity by 50% over 2007 levels and passengers across the country will reap the benefits of this. All this is helping to build the best railway Scotland has ever had”