Walkers stranded at Trainspotting station by ‘ghost trains’

Ewan McGregor lying across the track at Corrour in the scene from the classic film. Picture: Kobal
Ewan McGregor lying across the track at Corrour in the scene from the classic film. Picture: Kobal
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It is the remote Highland station made famous by Ewan McGregor’s “I hate being Scottish” rant in the film Trainspotting.

But now ScotRail is in the firing line at Corrour for leaving walkers stranded when “ghost trains” run through without stopping.

Staff at the station cafe are having to come to the rescue of marooned travellers twice a week when services are cancelled at little or no notice.

Corrour has no public road access, with hapless passengers having to be ferried 20 miles over a private track by Land Rover to the nearest bus.

It has been a chronic problem since last summer, with several trains on the Glasgow-Mallaig line cancelled last weekend, and two more did not run yesterday.

The cause is a shortage of conductors, who operate the doors and must be on the train when it is carrying passengers for safety. If no conductor is available, trains run empty to the end of the line to be ready for the next return service.

An industry source said: “Bizarrely, the trains often run as ‘ghost trains’ with no passengers, as the driver is often available, but not the guard [conductor], meaning no passengers can be carried.

“So the train often runs empty while passengers are squeezed into replacement buses, and must wonder why they can’t use the train.”

Clare Gilles, manager of the Corrour Station House café, said: “It’s not ideal at all – it’s quite a difficult place to get stuck in. It has become a recurring problem and passengers are not so pleased.”

Ramblers Scotland director Jess Dolan said: “We’ve asked ScotRail for assurances they will improve the situation on the line. They have promised walkers won’t be left stranded at remote stations when things go wrong.”

A ScotRail spokeswoman said: “Occasionally, members of train crew are unavailable for work at short notice, due to issues such as illness or holiday cover. If a service is cancelled, we always try to provide alternative transport for customers – however, this isn’t always possible.

“In these instances, we arrange for passengers to travel to a different station or, if necessary, provide overnight accommodation nearby.

“At Corrour, if passengers have been unable to catch an earlier service, we have provided accommodation for customers at a nearby hostel.”