ScotRail to axe 50 per cent of Sunday trains ahead of talks to resolve drivers' pay dispute

ScotRail has announced a temporary Sunday timetable that will see just 556 of its normal 1,088 services running – compared to 768 last Sunday.

By Alastair Dalton
Thursday, 2nd June 2022, 8:39 pm
Updated Friday, 3rd June 2022, 4:12 pm

The 50 per cent cut compares to 29 per cent of trains being cancelled a week ago – or 320 services.

The planned reduction on Sunday is also far greater than on other days, for which temporary timetables introduced last week saw services being cut by one third.

The new Sunday timetable includes trains being halved in frequency on some routes.

Edinburgh-Glasgow main line services will be cut to hourly, with the last trains leaving both cities at 10pm – 90 minutes earlier than normal.

The last Edinburgh-Aberdeen train will leave at 7.15pm with passengers having to change at Dundee, compared to 9pm normally.

The last Edinburgh-Inverness service will leave at 5.50pm with a change in Perth.

However, the temporary timetable will enable passengers to plan trips in advance rather be faced with hundreds of cancellations without advance notice.

ScotRail services have been cut due to the drivers' dispute. Picture: John Devlin

ScotRail has published details online of all services running on Sunday and other days.

The operator has introduced the temporary timetables after most of its 1,200 drivers declined to make themselves available for overtime or rest day working as part of a pay dispute.

ScotRail has admitted it will take five years to eliminate the need for rest day working, by when driver numbers will need to increase to 1,500.

The changes to the Sunday timetable come after the national executive committee of drivers’ union Aslef on Wednesday rejected ScotRail’s improved 4.2 per cent pay offer which was made last week.

Talks are due to resume on Monday.

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The Scotsman has learned that Aslef Scottish organiser Kevin Lindsay wanted the offer to be put to members, even though he knew it was against union policy because he had not recommended whether or not it should be accepted.

An internal memo stated: "We will be putting their [ScotRail’s] final offer to the executive committee and ask for a referendum for drivers to decide.

"The company council and I will not be putting a recommendation on this offer as believe it's up to the members to decide."

However, Mr Lindsay said he had sensed little support for the deal among the hundreds of drivers he had spoken to, with only one backing it at a meeting of 140 drivers last week.

Passengers will be able to see the new temporary timetable for Sunday on ScotRail’s website and app from Saturday morning, as customer information systems are currently updating.

David Simpson, ScotRail service delivery director, said: “We’re sorry to customers for the disruption on Sundays over recent weeks, so this temporary timetable will provide greater certainty and reliability for customers.

“We’re incredibly disappointed and frustrated that Aslef bosses have rejected this improved pay offer.

“Our substantially improved pay offer reflects the cost-of-living challenges faced by families across the country, while balancing it against the need to provide value for the taxpayer.

“We have offered to meet Aslef, but, in the meantime, would urge them to reconsider this offer in the interest of their members and the future of the railway in Scotland.

“We’re asking customers to check their journey on our website, mobile app, and through our social media channels as train times will have changed.”