Fury as trains skip stations

Duncan Cumming at a local train station
Duncan Cumming at a local train station

The Councillor for Bearsden North has been inundated with complaints from residents recently about the local train service.

The main problem that’s been raised with Independent politician Duncan Cumming is what ScotRail Alliance calls “expressing” of trains, which means that trains skip stations leaving people stranded on platforms or trapped on trains, with little or no warning that this will happen.

One woman explained that she turned up at Bearsden station at 8.55am to find the 8.59am to Edinburgh was delayed and unlikely to run, the 9.14am to Cumbernauld was cancelled, the 9.29am was also cancelled and the 9.44am was not expected to arrive into Bearsden until after 10am.

She said: “There were so many upset passengers that a very helpful ticket lady who copes with complaints daily called the signal folks and begged them not to express the delayed 8.59am.

“She succeeded and it got me to work only a few minutes late instead of 45 minutes late. Needless to say nobody at stations other than Bearsden Westerton, Partick or Charing Cross got to work on time because they were all skipped.”

Mr Cumming met with senior management from ScotRail and discussed the problem for several hours last Thursday (October 12).

He said: “I appreciated greatly the time that was afforded to me to explain in great detail the concern and annoyance that local people felt regarding trains skipping stations.

“I said that I felt that this practice of “expressing” should stop. However, I was very disappointed that ScotRail could give me no guarantee that this practice would cease.

“I will continue to press ScotRail at every opportunity in the hope that we will soon see improvements in the service.

“I have also written to the Scottish Transport Minister in the hope of securing a meeting to discuss constituents’ concerns.”

A ScotRail Alliance spokesperson said: “We understand customers’ frustration when services ‘run express’ and do everything we can to minimise it, but it is a very rare occurrence and is only done to limit further disruption to customers across the wider network. These figures apply to just 0.23 per cent of all scheduled stops, which highlights just how rare it is.

“We are doing everything we can to build the best railway Scotland has ever had. We are the best performing large train operator in the UK, and the recent independent National Rail Passenger Survey showed that nine out of ten passengers are satisfied with ScotRail.”