Nicola Sturgeon has conceded rail passengers endured “difficult circumstances” after a landslide forced the closure of the main train line between Scotland’s largest cities.
Services on the main line from Edinburgh Waverley to Glasgow Queen Street had to be halted after mud and rocks fell onto the tracks at Winchburgh yesterday.
Landslides also affected other routes, prompting Tory MSP Jamie Greene to ask the First Minister if the rail network had been “adequately winter proofed”.
The Conservative raised the issue with Ms Sturgeon at First Minister’s Questions, telling her: “This week has proven to be quite a miserable week for rail travellers in Scotland.
“A landslip has closed the Glasgow to Edinburgh line, the West Highland line was closed after a derailment, landslides are affecting cross country services near Kilmarnock, flooding and debris is causing problems right across the network. All causing disruption to tens of thousands of commuters.”
Ms Sturgeon said it had been “an incredibly difficult week for those who work on our railways and indeed for those who travel on our railways”.
She added: “Of course there have been challenges caused by the weather, the most serious and significant of those is the closure of the Edinburgh-Glasgow railway line because of the landslip that occurred.”
But Ms Sturgeon said a workplan to restore services on the popular route had now been agreed, adding it was hoped this could be completed this afternoon.
She stressed: “However, that will be subject to an inspection of the signalling cables, which were buried in the landslip.”
The First Minister said: “These are difficult circumstances for passengers. I want to thank the travelling public for the patience they display. I deeply regret when there is inconvenience caused, but I am sure most reasonable people know some of these weather related incidents cannot be avoided.”