Fewer trains operating
Reduced rail services to be introduced from next week
ScotRail protecting staff and freight (pic: Terry Murden)
Rail services in Scotland will move to a reduced timetable similar to a Sunday service from next week to protect services for essential workers and allow vital freight trains to continue to operate.
The Scottish Government is also looking at ways to offer financial support to rail operators affected by the downturn in travel.
Transport Secretary Michael Matheson said: “We will reach a point where travel is reduced to essential journeys only.
“Moving to a reduced timetable will not only help ensure some passenger services continue to run, it will enable freight to be prioritised so goods and emergency supplies such as medicines can be moved around the country.
“We are also investigating ways to provide proportionate relief to operators, while also ensuring contractual incentives remain to mitigate the impact of doing so. Any changes to rail franchise contracts, including funding mechanisms, will be made in the best interests of the public and business communities.’
Alex Hynes, Managing Director of Scotland’s Railway, said: “We are facing an unprecedented challenge on Scotland’s Railway and revising the timetable will help to provide a critical service for the key workers across the country.”
The reduction in services from Monday will offer some additional first and late last trains for key staff. Off-peak passenger services may be further reduced in relation to demand.
Maggie Simpson, RFG Director General, said: “In these unprecedented times, the rail freight industry is doing all it can to ensure delivery of vital supplies for supermarkets and retailers, manufacturers and businesses, and to support communities across Scotland.
“We welcome the support of Scottish Government and Scotland’s Railway in ensuring freight services are prioritised on the network.”
For more information on how these changes will affect individual services, passengers should check with their rail operator.