Column: When will we get a rail service that actually works?

Stock image: Falkirk High Station
Stock image: Falkirk High Station

The main line between Glasgow and Edinburgh is the busiest in Scotland, and rakes in stupendous fortunes from people who use it at peak times - so why is it such an over-priced joke?

A (not particularly funny) comedy of errors that turned rolling stock into laughing stock last month saw rail chiefs having to explain to unhappy customers that trains which were already too busy were about to become downright overcrowded.

The reason is a tangle created by a vehicle licensing blunder which meant carriages which should now be trundling merrily between the two great central belt cities weren’t able to take their place on the tracks.

No problem, though, because some of the misery certain to follow a drastic reduction in carriages was to be sidelined by introducing a longer but cheaper “Plan B” option of getting to Edinburgh - via Airdrie.

Pending arrival of the new carriages in late May we were told that normal peak hour services which would usually have six carriages might have just three or four.

This ludicrous Laurel and Hardy shambles might be shrugged off as “one of those things”if it were an isolated failure - but of course it’s not.

Travel by train in the Netherlands, Spain, Germany or France is wildly different from the amateurish nonsense the typical Scottish rail traveller endures (at inordinate expense).

Surely there’s an overwhelming case for complete nationalisation of a system so obviously run for shareholders, not the suffering public.

That way the buck would stop somewhere and the public might finally get a service fit for purpose.