Letter: ScotRail failings

This bout of bad weather might be a good time to remind First ScotRail that the trains introduced into Scotland from 1988 proved derisory from the start, and earned justifiable criticism. Equally from the start, we critics and commentators were ignored or at best patronised.

In the last six years in which First ScotRail has held our national rail franchise, the degree to which we are patronised and fobbed off has risen.

The current difficulties facing First ScotRail lie primarily in the design and quality of its trains. So let me say just once: we all told you so.

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First ScotRail is not alone in being a culprit, for Transport Scotland and the Scottish Government shoulder their share of culpability. But First ScotRail stands out because as the operator of the risible long-distance stock, it sees at first-hand the passenger problems, and has experienced direct feedback from us travellers.

In all this time First ScotRail has taken no action, with nary a word upstairs to Transport Scotland and the Scottish Government. "We are not a lobbying organisation" is one of the many mantras for which First ScotRail is noted. The renewal of the ScotRail franchise comes up in 2014. This is the franchise famously described as "a dripping roast", a franchise so profitable in any UK terms that when awarded six years ago the shares of parent company First Group leapt upwards.

First ScotRail now faces real trouble with the snow, and the straw sophistry and platitudes fed to us passengers these past six years are coming home to roost. We passengers really have been badly treated. But there's a chance here for First ScotRail to be able to rise above events and actually do something. Will the company respond?


Hill Street