ScotRail disruption in Edinburgh a 'serious failure' says Scotland's Transport Minister

Transport minister Michael Matheson has branded the disruption experienced by ScotRail customers on Saturday night as a “serious failure”.

Transport minister Michael Matheson has branded the disruption experienced by ScotRail customers on Saturday night as a “serious failure”.

As the population of the Capital continues to rise and the Festival announces more than three million visitors for its events this year, Mr Matheson also said questions need to be answered about event planning in the future to avoid a repeat.

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Hundreds of ScotRail passengers caught up in Edinburgh Waverley 'shambles'

The train company has said they will review the events alongside Network Rail.

However, politicians slammed Abellio and the Scottish government’s handling of the ScotRail franchise with Colin Smyth, Labour’s transport spokesman, claiming that staff have labelled the franchise the “worst run they have ever seen”.

Mr Matheson stated that he was taking the issues experienced on Saturday “very seriously” and said he would continue to speak directly to ScotRail management.

He said: “This was the first year ScotRail and passengers could really benefit from investment in infrastructure, completed electrification, new trains and longer platforms at Queen Street allowing some eight car trains.

“Over the course of the Festival this was well received, however, the events of Saturday evening at Waverley and Haymarket were a serious failure.

“The overcrowding levels experienced gave rise to serious crowd management and staffing issues.

“I am taking this matter very seriously and have been quite clear, including direct conversation with ScotRail’s senior management team, that Saturday’s incidents are unacceptable.”

However, Conservative transport spokesman Jamie Green slammed the “chaos” and called on Nicola Sturgeon to “get a grip” on Scotland’s railway problems.

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He said: “Not for the first time ScotRail passengers have been subjected to overcrowded trains and delayed services.

“Given some of the eye witness accounts, it’s no wonder that some passengers were fearful for their safety and each one of them needs an explanation as to why this was allowed to happen.

“Nicola Sturgeon herself said it was the last chance saloon for the ScotRail franchise, but the SNP have still totally failed to get a grip on the problems facing Scotland’s rail services.”

Colin Smyth added: “There is a lack of ambition and a sticky-plaster approach.

“Are we getting the contingency plans for events like this? The thought is that we don’t have major events at the same time which is something we don’t want to happen in our capital city. It is a short term fix and what you can deliver in that period of time. We need a more long term approach and leadership from the government and Transport Scotland.”