ANGRY Dalmeny commuters were left stranded on the platform after ScotRail chopped the number of carriages on a busy route due to storm damage.
And while it could be up to six weeks before the Fife Circle is back to normal, the firm has pledged to double some services next week.
On Monday, the 7.58am train from Dalmeny into Edinburgh ran with just three carriages as opposed to its normal five. With the train almost full to capacity before arriving at Dalmeny the result was that commuters were unable to board the train, forcing them to wait for the next train at 8.19am.
ScotRail notified commuters of these proposals on its website last Friday and asked them for their patience as carriages are being repaired. But many local commuters are angry that they have been left high and dry by the rail company, just days after an increase in fares.
One disgruntled commuter said this week: “Even when the trains are running as normal it is a fight to get on this train but to have just three carriages running for one of the busiest trains in the day is totally ridiculous. I was unable to get on the train on Monday and have had to fight my way onto the train since then. This is not what you need first thing when trying to get to work!”
The woman added: “What is even more galling is that while standing on platform, a Fife bound train arrived at Dalmeny with five carriages and was practically empty. Surely, ScotRail must be able to look at their timetable and realise that a train with five carriages is needed at 7.58am as opposed to say earlier ones at 7.19am or 7.38am.”
When the Journal and Gazette contacted Edinburgh West MSP Colin Keir, he said he sympathised with Dalmeny commuters and will take up the issue with ScotRail and highlight it to the First Minister Alex Salmond.
The MSP said: “I regularly commute from South Gyle to Waverley so I am well aware of the issues Dalmeny commuters have to endure. There are many times commuters, including myself, have been packed like sardines on trains too small to cope. This is an ongoing problem which has only been exacerbated by the problems caused by the storms last week. We are trying to encourage people to use rail travel but this is not a pleasant experience!”
Edinburgh West MP Mike Crockart has also got involved and has written to the managing director of ScotRail asking for an explanation and whether it is possible to re‑address the balance and shift the carriages to the train with highest demand.
Mr Crockart said: “I appreciate that the lack of adequate carriages is an ongoing issue for commuters joining peak trains at Dalmeny station. I have therefore asked for a meeting to discuss this issue further with ScotRail.”
A ScotRail spokeswoman stressed: “We are planning to run the 7.58am service from Dalmeny with six carriages next week. In the meantime, customers travelling to Edinburgh can also use the 07.38 service which is made up of five carriages.”
She added: “We apologise to customers for the inconvenience caused by running fewer carriages, and thank them for their patience. We plan to repair the damaged trains at a number of different depots to complete the work as quickly as possible.”