Scotland

ScotRail set for £500,000 ticket refund over snow chaos

Waverely train station in Edinburgh
Image caption The freezing conditions caused widespread disruption to the rail and road network

ScotRail is set to repay £500,000 to season ticket holders who were unable to travel in Scotland's big freeze.

Severe snowfalls and sub-zero conditions brought parts of the country's rail and road system to a standstill over the past month.

ScotRail said the refunds would cover the four weeks ending 11 December and went beyond its obligations.

Meanwhile, Transport Scotland said urgent repairs and pothole filling were taking place on the trunk road network.

As well as iced-up tracks, rolling stock and points, trains had been damaged after blocks of ice fell from underneath and bounced back upwards, hitting the undercarriage.

Passengers have 28 days from when their tickets expire to apply for a refund. Details of the qualifying routes are available on the ScotRail website.

The company said the move comes despite the fact that extreme weather delays affecting all transport are excluded from calculating refunds under its charter.

Steve Montgomery, managing director of ScotRail, said: "Difficult decisions had to be taken following the impact on infrastructure and weather-related damage to our trains.

"This included the introduction of temporary timetables or suspending services on a number of routes.

"Given the circumstances, we have introduced refund arrangements as a gesture of goodwill on a route by route basis depending on the level of service we were able to provide."

In some cases, there will be refunds of up to 10 days in connection with season tickets.

Pothole patrols

Transport Minister Keith Brown said: "We encourage people to use public transport where possible and recognise the problems people faced in trying to use the rail services last month.

"This offer will at least minimise the impact on passengers' pockets."

Transport Scotland said emergency response teams were patrolling the trunk road network for potholes and carrying out necessary repairs.

Bear Scotland has already targeted the M8 and M90 and would be working on routes in the Perth, Lochgelly, Dundee, Keith, Bucksburn, Stirlinghill and Inverness areas.

Amey and Scotland Transerv have also had teams out undertaking emergency work.

Scottish Water said it was continuing to restore supplies to customers affected by the severe weather.

The utility estimated that about 200 properties were currently off supply after burst water mains and leaks throughout the country.

Peter Farrer, Scottish Water's customer service delivery director, added: "We are in particular working hard to help our more vulnerable customers who find it difficult to access alternative supplies."

Scottish Water said it had received a total of about 38,000 calls since Christmas Eve. Many of the problems involved household pipes and were not the responsibility of Scottish Water to fix.

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