By Lucy Ashton
ScotRail has added more late-night train services to its timetable this weekend.
The nationalised rail operator announced extra trains on major routes just hours before the temporary weekend schedule was due to start.
The company has been heavily criticised for slashing services on its weekday routes, with some terminating up to four hours earlier than usual.
The drivers’ union Aslef is embroiled in a pay dispute with ScotRail.
The rail operator announced the additional services on its social media channels on Friday afternoon.
There will now be services running on some routes until as late as 23:45.
ScotRail tweeted: “We said we’d review the temporary timetable to make improvements if we can. We have and we’re pleased to be putting on extra late-night services on 27 & 28 May.”
Aslef members are considering an improved 4.2% pay offer and improved conditions, after a breakthrough in negotiations on Thursday.
The train drivers have been in dispute over a 2.2% pay offer, which Aslef said was not acceptable in times of soaring inflation. ScotRail said the new pay offer was final and could not be improved.
The reduced timetable which started on Monday saw almost 700 fewer train services a day on the Scottish network.
However, even if the offer is accepted, it could take almost two weeks for services to return to normal.
ScotRail’s service delivery director, David Simpson, told BBC Radio’s Good Morning Scotland programme: “It’s up to 10 days to restore the full timetable. It’s a complex process, it involves all parts of the industry changing rosters, we’d aim to do that as quickly as possible.
“We’re also reviewing the current timetable. We’ve added some more late-night services for tonight and tomorrow.
“We’re looking at the Scotland-Ukraine football on Wednesday, to do more there.
“We’re trying to be as flexible as possible until we get the full timetable back.”
The temporary timetable covers Monday to Saturday services. ScotRail said it would not have a revised timetable in place this Sunday, despite more than 300 cancellations last weekend.
Mr Simpson said the new 4.2% pay offer was made up of the initial 2.2%, plus another 2% to reflect “worker flexibility” with changing timetables after the pandemic.
There is also an additional 5% bonus if ScotRail meets its revenue targets for the year – taking the total pay package to 9.2%.
On a typical ScotRail driver salary of more than £50,000, this pay offer could be worth more than £4,600.
ScotRail returned to public ownership on 1 April and is run by a company owned by the Scottish government.
The rail operator began cancelling trains earlier this month after many drivers chose not to work overtime or on rest days during the pay dispute.
Due to delays in training new staff during the pandemic, it relied on drivers working extra hours in order to run normal services.
The original Summer 2022 timetable had about 2,150 weekday services. This was reduced to 1,456 in the temporary timetable.
ScotRail said this would bring more certainty to services but it also meant the last train on many routes would depart before 20:00.
‘Face the consequences’
On Thursday Aslef’s Scottish organiser, Kevin Lindsay, said the pay offer would be put to members for consideration.
He said: “The emergency timetable imposed by ScotRail cut too far, too deep, and in my opinion was not necessary.”
“They should have come round the table and spoken to us a lot sooner and encouraged the drivers to work. However, they didn’t and now they have faced the consequences of it.”
A verbal referendum of Aslef members will now be held, with the full consultation and formal vote expected to last up to four weeks.
The RMT union, which represents other railway workers, has balloted members over strike action but will hold separate negotiations with ScotRail on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, speaking after ScotRail finally published Saturday’s train timetable, Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton, right, has today urged ministers to make a deal and warned that if rail chaos drags on it will discourage major events organisers from choosing to host events in Scotland.
On Saturday, the final train on the Glasgow Queen Street to Edinburgh line leaving in each direction is at 10.15pm. This is approximately half an hour before the Alice Cooper gig at the OVO Hydro is expected to finish.
The final train from Edinburgh to Perth and Dundee via the Fife circle now leaves at 9.03pm, with the last train from Dundee to Edinburgh on the same route leaving at 8.45pm.
The last train from Glasgow Queen Street through Bishopbriggs, Lenzie, Stirling and Alloa which is usually around midnight has been brought forward to 7.49pm.
Mr Cole-Hamilton said:”Scotland’s reputation as a host of major events is being trashed under the wheels of SNP incompetence. If this rail chaos goes on, organisers will think twice before planning to host events here. Ministers need to make a deal happen.
“Saturday’s timetable is a nightmare for anyone trying to get home from Scotland’s cities. Gig and theatre goers face having to take the car or end up out of pocket for taxis or hotels.
“Meanwhile runners and fans attending Sunday’s Edinburgh marathon still don’t have a timetable at all. It’s farcical that they still don’t know when trains will actually be running.
“If we want people to travel by rail it needs to be convenient and reliable. Instead, the SNP and Greens have taken just two months to wreck Scotland’s rail network.”
- Glasgow Central
23:30 Glasgow Central – Ayr
23:24 Gourock – Glasgow Central
23:21 Glasgow Central – Gourock
21:47 Glasgow Central – East Kilbride
22:28 East Kilbride – Glasgow Central
23:18 Glasgow Central – East Kilbride
23:05 Glasgow Central – Neilston
- Glasgow Queen Street
22:45 Glasgow Queen St – Edinburgh
22:45 Edinburgh – Glasgow Queen St
23:45 Glasgow Queen St – Edinburgh
23:46 Edinburgh – Glasgow Queen St
- Edinburgh Waverley
23:14 Edinburgh – North Berwick
23:01 Edinburgh to Kirkcaldy
23:19 Edinburgh – Glenrothes via Dunfermline
22:36 Stirling to Edinburgh
23:32 Edinburgh to Stirling
23:22 Glasgow Queen St – Stirling
20:58 Aberdeen – Inverurie
21:29 Inverurie – Aberdeen
22:49 Aberdeen – Inverurie