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Dumbarton MSP blasts ‘appalling’ train timetable cuts


Rail services for travellers in Dumbarton, the Vale and Helensburgh have been slashed in a move described “appalling” due to a driver dispute.

Scotrail has revealed a new temporary timetable due to a high number of disrupted services in recent weeks after drivers refused requests by the newly-nationalised company to work overtime shifts.

Almost a third of services across the country have been axed, with a new temporary timetable introduced yesterday.

Under the changes, the last service from Glasgow Queen Street to Balloch on weekdays will now leave at 8.13pm, whilethe final train from Edinburgh to Helensburgh – calling at Dumbarton – will leave the capital at 9.40pm.

Previously the last train from Glasgow to Balloch left Queen Street at 11.37pm, while services from Edinburgh to Helensburgh ran until 10.23pm.




Morning services have also been cut, with the first train from Balloch to Glasgow leaving at 6.08am, and no services leaving afterwards until 7.38am – leaving workers who have an 8am start time in limbo.

Services from Helensburgh to Edinburgh will remain half-hourly, starting at 5.54am and running until 8.02pm. Dumbarton MSP Jackie Baillie said cancellations began affecting residents last week, with a number of services cancelled.

One woman reported being crammed into a carriage on the 7.55am service from Helensburgh Central to Glasgow Queen Street on Friday morning as the two subsequent trains were cancelled.

The Labour MSP said: “This is absolutely appalling that, just weeks into public ownership of Scotrail, the timetable has been cut back so much that travelling by train is no longer an option for them.

“As services are being plunged into chaos and workers treated with contempt, the SNP are nowhere to be seen.

“It is utterly shameless for Scotrail to try and pin the blame for their own failures on dedicated frontline workers, who have gone above and beyond to paper over the cracks created by years of failed leadership.

“People in West Dunbartonshire and Helensburgh have faced years of misery on the railways with station skipping, cramped services and cancellations and this is yet another blow which degrades people’s trust in public transport.

“It speaks volumes that just a couple of hours after this announcement, I have already been contacted by constituents struggling to make journeys which are essential. I have asked Scotrail to put on replacement bus services to help for those who would experience severe difficulty with their travel arrangements.”

Scotrail say a ban on overtime and rest-day working by train drivers in the wake of a move by ASLEF to ballot workers for industrial action over pay, has had an “ongoing impact”.

Bosses say the rail operator – recently taken under the control of the Scottish Government – has made the move in a bid to provide more certainty for commuters, saying the current level of cancellations is “not sustainable for customers and colleagues”.

David Simpson, Scotrail service delivery director, said: “We are very sorry to customers for the disruption of recent days.

“We know what customers want more than anything is certainty and reliability, which is why we are introducing a temporary timetable.

“We want to resolve this dispute with the trade unions and move forward together to provide the safest, greenest, and most reliable railway we can for Scotland.”

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said last week she hoped the timetable would get back to normal “as quickly as possible”.





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