Rail and sea travelers in Scotland are facing widespread cancellations due to ferry incidents and rail disputes.

Seven hundred trains were canceled on ScotRail – about a third of the week’s 2,150 normal services – as the new “interim timetable” went into effect.

The cuts were created due to a nationwide shortage of train drivers and a dispute with their union, Aslef. Many drivers are refusing to work on their rest days.

Nearly 350 trains were canceled on the ScotRail network on Sunday. The work week began with a significant reduction in links – including the removal of two of three direct trains from Mallaig via Fort William to Glasgow Queen Street. The only train of the day leaves the west coast port at 6:23 am.

ScotRail told passengers: “We rely on drivers working overtime or on their days off to run to our normal schedule, as the pandemic has meant training for new drivers has been delayed. significantly postponed.

“Without Covid and that impact on training, we would have trained about 130 more drivers today.

“A significant number of drivers have refused to take the time to work overtime or rest during the day.

“This has led to recent disruptions and we need to come up with an interim timetable.”

Many of the trains that are axed are evening service. The last trains from Glasgow to Dundee and Stirling will depart four hours earlier than usual, at 7.10pm and 7.49pm respectively.

From Inverness to Aberdeen, the last train of the day runs at 6:50pm instead of 9:33pm.

During a Commons debate on Thursday, before the interim timetable was revealed, the SNP government was accused of allowing rail unions too much power.

Chris Loder, Conservative MP for West Dorset, said: “It is clear that the Scottish government has allowed unions to run railways in Scotland, so it will be difficult, especially towards the end. the week.”

Gavin Newlands, SNP MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire North, dismissed the criticism, saying: “With an integrated approach to tracking and training in Scotland, ScotRail provides the rest of the UK with an example. about how the railway system works.”

One positive rail development in Scotland is the reopening of the station at Reston on the East Coast mainline. The £20 million development fills the 30-mile gap between Dunbar and the first station in the UK, Berwick-upon-Tweed.

ScotRail does not serve the station; two British train operators, LNER and TransPennine Express, are calling at Reston.

Meanwhile, Caledonian MacBrayne, which operates ferry services on the Western Isles, has canceled several trips due to the ships being out of service.

Two vessels normally in service with the Outer Hebrides were withdrawn for repair: MV Lord of the Islands and MV Hebrides. The second one hit a pier at Lochmaddy in North Uist last Wednesday.

Half of the sailings between Ardrossan in Ayrshire and Brodick on the Isle of Arran were canceled as one of the ships had been deployed to replace two out of service.

“Schedule modifications for a single train service are required to protect lifeline services across the network,” the company said.

The normal interval between departures of 80 minutes has been doubled.

Caledonian MacBrayne says: “MV Island of Arran will return to service with a 16:40 departure from Ardrossan on Tuesday, May 24.”


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