Scotland

Scotrail 'golden train' plan to reduce delays

workers in tunnel
Image caption Recent infrastructure projects have included the closure of the Queen Street tunnel in Glasgow

ScotRail Alliance has published details of how it hopes to improve performance on the network.

The plan includes the protection of "golden trains", services that have the biggest impact on the network if they are delayed or cancelled.

ScotRail admitted its performance "isn't good enough".

Government agency Transport Scotland instructed the operator to draw up a performance improvement plan after reliability dropped.

The average combined punctuality and reliability of the trains on Scotland's railways has fallen below 90.3%.

On Wednesday, a petition to strip Abellio of the ScotRail contract was given to the transport minister.

Track vegetation

The petition called on the Scottish government to act over delays and cancellations.

ScotRail Alliance said its "performance improvement plan", which will cost the company an extra £16m over two years, would improve the reliability of trains and ensure infrastructure like points, tracks and signals operated at "optimum efficiency".

It means that within the next few weeks, three new trains will be brought into service, a campaign will be rolled out to staff and the public aimed at getting trains running on time, vegetation will be cleared from around the tracks and signals will be improved.

ScotRail said the key parts of the improvement plan were:

  • Tailored upgrade programmes for key parts of the network
  • Programme of upgrades to trains to rectify most common causes of faults
  • Identifying ways to alter timetable operation to make service more effective
  • Improving ways staff are rostered and train locations monitored

ScotRail Alliance infrastructure director, David Dickson, said the network had recently been going through an "unbelievable, almost unprecedented level of change".

Recent large projects have included the closure of the Queen Street tunnel in Glasgow.

Image copyright PA

Mr Dickson said: "Over the course of the next year or so we will be completing huge projects to upgrade our infrastructure, electrifying large parts of the network and introducing new fleets of faster, longer greener and intercity trains.

"All of this work will transform rail travel in Scotland. We will have shorter journey times, better equipped trains and, crucially, a huge expansion in the number of services we run and the seats we are able to offer.

"When we complete this work, there will be 100,000 more seats available each and every weekday than there was at the start of the current franchise."

But Mr Dickson said the improvements would "inevitably" cause some disruption.

Transport Minister Humza Yousaf said the Scottish government was "completely committed" to helping ScotRail deliver a reliable, comfortable and punctual service.

He said a total of £5bn was being invested by the Scottish government in improving the network up to 2019.

Missed appointments

"I have seen some of the work that has gone into developing this plan which sets out the actions that ScotRail will take over the short, medium and longer term to improve performance and the journey experience across the rail network," Mr Yousaf said.

"I know passengers want to see services in Scotland they can rely on and I have asked Transport Scotland to monitor the actions to ensure each initiative is being progressed and delivered to address these matters."

Campaigners who submitted the petition to Mr Yousaf on Wednesday have said the quality of service on ScotRail trains is "not good enough".

Speaking to the BBC on Wednesday, Stewart Kirkpatrick, from the campaign group 38 degrees, said: "We've been bombarded with stories from members across Scotland of delays, frustrations, missed appointments, important life events being impacted by the poor service offered by ScotRail and they've had enough."

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites