ScotRail says Fife improvements ‘June 2020 at earliest’

The planned improvements won't happen any time soon.
The planned improvements won't happen any time soon.

Fifers will now have to wait until at least June next year to see improvements on the railways, despite earlier assurances that it would happen by the end of this year.

Mid Scotland and Fife MSP Alex Rowley said that during a face-to-face meeting with ScotRail managing director Alex Hynes told the Labour MSP that there were no more diesel locomotives available until at least June 2020.

It follows claims by Mr Hynes during a stormy public meeting in Kirkcaldy in May this year that passengers in Fife could have to wait as late as December this year.

ScotRail blames the delay on the Wabtec, the firm which is refurbishing trains which are due to then be deployed across Scotland.

Fifers have long been short-changed on the railways. paying more per mile than other areas, but regularly putting up with delays, cancellations and overcrowding.

Lesley Laird, MP for Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath said: “There were gasps of disbelief at Kirkcaldy Town Hall in February when Alex Hynes told commuters they would be waiting until this December for peak train services in Fife to improve.

“That was hard enough news for people to stomach then but here we are, six months on, and we learn the deadline for new trains has been extended to June 2020 ‘at the earliest’. What an utter shambles and yet another slap in the face to Fifers.

“We’re sick fed-up hearing excuse after excuse, yet incredibly the Scottish Government still insists it’s ready to step in if Abellio does not improve. Well the question Fifers are asking is: when will that be, exactly?

“Abellio has had more than ample time and opportunity to up its game and provide Fife customers with a decent, reliable service. After all, given we already pay more per rail mile than some other regions, it’s the very least we deserve.

“Fife is expected to yet again just suck it up. Suck up poor service. Suck up old trains. Suck up higher fares.”

A ScotRail spokesperson said: “It’s no secret that our suppliers have let us down on the delivery of our high-speed Inter7City trains.

“We’re working with them to get these trains delivered and in passenger service as soon as possible.

“When our full fleet of Inter7City trains are available, our customers in Fife will see significant benefits.

“The timetable will deliver improved journey times for intercity passengers, and offer significantly more capacity on both our intercity routes and on local services in Fife compared to the start of the franchise.”

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