PUBLIC TRANSPORT: ScotRail passengers are travelling back to the seventies

By Lucy Ashton

Scottish Liberal Democrat transport spokesperson Jill Reilly has today highlighted new figures showing that Scottish rail passengers are still relying on trains and carriages manufactured in the mid-seventies to serve on intercity routes.

Data obtained by the Scottish Liberal Democrats through a freedom of information request shows that:

  • The oldest carriages in use as part of the fleet date were manufactured as far back as 1976.
  • The trains with the longest continuous use are Class 318s used on the Glasgow Suburban line which were manufactured in 1986 and entered service the same year.
  • Class 156s were manufactured in 1989 and have served on the West Highland and Glasgow Suburban lines ever since.

Scottish Liberal Democrats recently revealed that in its first six month back in government hands, ScotRail has racked up more than £400,000 in payments to rail users for delays and that’s only those who go through the process of applying for a refund.

Jill Reilly, pictured right, said: “ScotRail are relying on rolling stock that almost dates back to the age of steam. Old carriages and trains have a place on the service, but it does raise questions about how well capital investment in Scotland’s trains has been handled over the years and whether reliance on old trains has been allowed to impede on operational efficiency.

“Delays are not just costing passengers, but the Government as well and that money should be available for updating trains and carriages.

“Commuters and rail users need a quality service that they can rely on if we are to tempt people out of private cars, not one that feels like travelling back to the seventies.

“Scottish Liberal Democrats are committed to delivering a public transport system that works for all communities, for all ages, and for the climate. That’s why we want to see fares cut, new options for two/three-day a week season tickets and for the government to work with councils to explore new lines, particularly in areas where public transport links are poor.”

The Scottish Liberal Democrat freedom of information request can be found here.

Scottish Liberal Democrats are calling for:

  • All peak rail fares to be scrapped for young people
  • The railcard discount to be increased to 50% for everyone under 30
  • The reversal of the SNP/Green rail fares hike
  • Ticketing options to reflect new models of hybrid working with the option for two/three-day a week season tickets
  • The government to look at new routes such as Alloa to Dunfermline, Grangemouth, St Andrews, Borders railway to Carlisle, Peterhead, Edinburgh’s Abbeyhill Loop and South Suburban and other lines where local people have lobbied ministers.
  • Picture: Trains at Helensburgh Station.

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