Scottish rail travel to go ‘Sunday service’ from Monday

Rail services in Scotland will be slashed from Monday to protect services for essential workers and vital freight trains.

By Roy Beers
Friday, 20th March 2020, 11:55 am

Falkirk West MSP Michael Matheson, who is transport secretary, said the move, which sees services reduced to around Sunday levels, will ensure some passenger trains will still operate.

The revamped timetable will include some additional first and late last trains “for key workers”, but off peak travel may be further reduced.

Mr Matheson said: “Following discussions with rail industry partners, passenger services will see a reduction as we continue to tackle the coronavirus.

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“We know that rail provides an important service in moving passengers and goods around the country however we will reach a point where travel is reduced to essential journeys only.

“Moving to a reduced timetable will not only help ensure some passenger services continue to run, it will enable freight to be prioritised so goods and emergency supplies such as medicines can be moved around the country”.

He added: “Constructive dialogue has been held with rail unions with discussion focused on protecting rail staff while they make a significant contribution to keeping passengers and goods moving as much as possible in these challenging circumstances

“We are also investigating ways to provide proportionate relief to operators, while also ensuring contractual incentives remain to mitigate the impact of doing so.

“Any changes to rail franchise contracts, including funding mechanisms, will be made in the best interests of the public and business communities”.

ScotRail managing director Alex Hynes said: “We are facing an unprecedented challenge on Scotland’s Railway and revising the timetable will help to provide a critical service for the key workers across the country.

“Our people are committed, and are working flat out on the frontline to help keep the country moving, while also keeping themselves and customers safe.

“The railway has an important role to play during this crisis and we are working closely with the Scottish Government to do all we can.”