Covid Scotland: ScotRail running replacement buses after raft of cancellations, timetable changes and staff shortages due to coronavirus

Travellers in Edinburgh and Fife are being reminded of disruption to train services and temporary timetable changes due to Covid-19.  

Today, ScotRail is running an hourly replacement bus in each direction between Edinburgh and North Berwick, calling at all stations, due to the staff shortages.

There have been around 130 cancellations already due to Covid-19.

The rapid spread of the Omicron variant has seen a recent spike of coronavirus-related absences among ScotRail staff with some having tested positive, others awaiting PCR test results, and many who are self-isolating as a result of being in close contact with someone who has tested positive.  

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The absences have had an impact on ScotRail services - mainly across the central belt of Scotland - and have resulted in a number of services cancelled or amended in recent weeks. 

 In order to provide customers with a level of certainty about which services are running in the coming weeks, ScotRail will make temporary changes to its timetable from Tuesday. 

Timetable changes are mainly focused across the central belt - with changes spread out across the day where possible to minimise the impact on customers’ journeys - and will operate Monday to Friday until Friday, January 28, 2022.

Hundreds of ScotRail services have been cancelled over the last few days because of Covid. Picture: John Devlin

Routes affected by the timetable revision include:  Edinburgh Waverley – Fife, Edinburgh Waverley – Newcraighall/Tweedbank, Edinburgh Waverley – Dunbar/North Berwick as well as train services in Glasgow.

Customers should check to see which services are affected by the changes and they are also reminded that there will be changes to the scheduled stops of some services. 

Where services have been cancelled, customers may be entitled to a refund on their ticket.

The train operator is also urging anyone travelling on Scotland’s Railway to stay safe by continuing to follow Scottish Government guidelines. 

This includes maintaining good hand hygiene and the mandatory wearing of a face covering for the entirety of their journey, which includes on trains and in stations – both enclosed and open-air platforms.

Customers are also asked to take a lateral flow test before travelling.

ScotRail will continue to review staff absence levels over the coming weeks in the event of a further spike in cases. 

David Simpson, ScotRail operations director, said:  “Like most businesses, ScotRail is not immune to the impact of coronavirus. We’ve been working flat out to run a safe and reliable railway in really difficult and rapidly changing circumstances. 

“As we continue to battle against the impact of coronavirus, we want to provide customers with a level of certainty, which is why we are introducing some temporary changes to our timetable from Tuesday, 4 January until Friday, 28 January 2022. 

“We’ve looked to spread these changes out across the day where possible to minimise the impact on our customers, but people should plan ahead and continue to check the train times right up until they arrive at the station.” 

Robert Samson, Transport Focus senior stakeholder manager, said:  “It’s better for some services to be temporarily withdrawn on a planned basis than to have chaotic last-minute cancellations as these are harder for passengers to deal with. These temporary changes to the timetable should deliver an increased level of certainty for passengers.”

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