MSP steps up call for probe into rail network

Pic Greg Macvean , 21/12/2010, Waverley Station train lines and departure information board
Pic Greg Macvean , 21/12/2010, Waverley Station train lines and departure information board
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NORTH East Fife MSP, Iain Smith, has stepped-up his call for an inquiry into the failure of the Scottish rail network during the recent bad weather.

Mr Smith has already written to Patrick Harvey MSP, convener of the Scottish Parliament’s transport committee, asking him to consider a probe into the failings of the network and poor performance of ScotRail.

Speaking in a debate on the issue at Holyrood, Mr Smith said: “Part of [the problem] is simply down to ScotRail’s inadequate information systems; its website failed to provide accurate information.

“If we wanted to find out whether a train was running, it was guaranteed that if it said on the live rail departure board that a train was on time, it had been cancelled.

“If the board said the train was delayed, it had been canelled.

“The only way of knowing if the train was running was if it could be seen moving down the line.”

Mr Smith went on: “There is also the issue of whether the rolling stock is capable of the job.

“ScotRail says that the brakes freeze and the snow accumulates under the carriages, which causes damage to the equipment.

“We are told that there are infrastructure problems, such as freezing points.

“Those issues are all of concern and need to be addressed.

“A once-in-a-lifetime event has happened twice within 12 months, and we need to upgrade our railway network so that it can cope.”