Comment: Time for Fife’s politicians to unite to tackle train chaos

Scotrail delays - Kirkcaldy station (Pic: Fife Free Press)
Scotrail delays - Kirkcaldy station (Pic: Fife Free Press)

A smashing night at the Adam Smith Theatre last week was ended with two words guaranteed to scunner you. Train cancelled.

The service which dovetailed perfectly with the ending of our show had been axed, prompting another half hour kicking our heels on an empty, cold platform on a suitably miserable summer’s night. Cheers Scotrail.

The same thing happened when we went to see Justin Currie play at Tae Sup Wi’ at the theatre.

Just as he hit the stage, my other half double checked the time of the last train home to find out it had been cancelled.

I’m eternally grateful that my train journeys are infrequent.

For people who rely on the service to get to work, and get home to fulfil family commitments, the service is wretched.

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If we printed every single story we’ve run about Scotrail we could probably paper the main line from here to the Forth Rail Bridge.

We’ve berated the company, its chief has come to Kirkcaldy and been handed his tatties, and nothing, let’s be honest, has actually changed.

Every time chaos erupts, Scotrail reels off its standard list of apologies, reminds commuters they can claim compo if they have any energy left after a journey from hell, and promises us things will get better somewhere in the dim and distant future.

Constantly thumping Scotrail with a mighty big stick is just hurting our arms.

So, what are our politicians doing?

I’ve lost count of the press releases we’ve received on the topic. This week Lesley Laird attacked Michael Matheson, and Murdo Fraser met with Alex Hynes.

Before that David Torrance called for full devolution of the railways, while Murdo – busy chap – and Liz Smith wanted action over the state of the Fife Circle Line, while the Greens demanded the First Minister get involved, while an SNP delegation met with the aforemenioned Mr Matheson. And that’s just the past few weeks.

End result? I’m not too sure. The trains are still cancelled, and carriages overcrowded.

We need a new approach.

Instead of working in isolation, we need our politicians to unite and form one strong, credible voice that sends a clear message that soars well beyond party political lines.

We need our Labour MP and our SNP MSP to stand side by side when they meet the Minister and when the bigwigs roll into town.

We need every politician on message , tackling this from a fresh perspective.

There is precedent.

When Glenrothes faced losing its out of hours hospital service, Lindsay Roy and Tricia Marwick united to lead a community campaign which forced a complete U-turn.

The needs of the people were put before party politics. People respected that and rallied to the cause.

Why aren’t our politicians doing that to sort out our rail service? One issue. One voice. Over to Messrs Laird, Torrance, Rowley, Baker, Smith, Fraser et al to get on with it.