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Sutherland passengers travelling to southern Scotland and the central belt alerted as ScotRail confirms temporary timetable changes next week in battle against Covid-19 and the rapid spread of the Omicron variant

By Ian Duncan

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Scotrail has announced tametable changes due to Covid-19.
Scotrail has announced tametable changes due to Covid-19.

ScotRail has confirmed it will make temporary timetable changes from next week due to the continued impact of coronavirus.

The rapid spread of the Omicron variant has seen a recent spike of Covid-related absences among ScotRail staff – with some having tested positive, others awaiting PCR test results, and many who are self-isolating as a result of being in close contact with someone who has tested positive.

These staff absences have had an impact on ScotRail services, mainly across the central belt of Scotland, and have resulted in a number of services cancelled or amended in recent weeks.

In order to provide customers with a level of certainty about which services are running in the coming weeks, ScotRail will make temporary changes to its timetable from Tuesday, January 4, 2022.

Timetable changes are mainly focused across the central belt, with changes spread out across the day where possible to minimise the impact on customers’ journeys, and will operate Monday to Friday until Tuesday, January 28, 2022.

Routes affected by the timetable revision include:

• Glasgow Central – Neilston/Newton;

• Glasgow Central – East Kilbride;

• Glasgow Central – Lanark;

• Glasgow Central – Ayrshire/Inverclyde/Stranraer;

• Glasgow Central – Edinburgh Waverley via Shotts;

• Glasgow Queen Street – Edinburgh Waverley via Airdrie and Bathgate;

• Glasgow Queen Street – Edinburgh Waverley via Cumbernauld and Falkirk Grahamston;

• Glasgow Queen Street/Edinburgh Waverley – Stirling/Dunblane/Alloa;

• Glasgow Queen Street – Anniesland via Maryhill;

• Edinburgh Waverley – Dunbar/North Berwick;

• Edinburgh Waverley – Fife;

• Edinburgh Waverley – Newcraighall/Tweedbank.

A full list of the changes can be found on the ScotRail website.

Customers should check to see which services are affected by the changes and they are also reminded that there will be changes to the scheduled stops of some services.

Where services have been cancelled customers may be entitled to a refund on their ticket.

The train operator is also urging anyone travelling on Scotland’s railway to stay safe by continuing to follow Scottish Government guidelines.

This includes maintaining good hand hygiene and the mandatory wearing of a face covering for the entirety of their journey, which includes on trains and in stations – both enclosed and open-air platforms. Customers are also asked to take a lateral flow test before travelling.

ScotRail will continue to review staff absence levels over the coming weeks in the event of a further spike in cases.

Customers should make sure they check their journeys via the ScotRail app or website before they try to travel in case of any unforeseen changes. ScotRail’s social media channels, especially Twitter, will also be giving out up to date information.

David Simpson, ScotRail operations director, said: “Like most businesses, ScotRail is not immune to the impact of coronavirus. We’ve been working flat out to run a safe and reliable railway in really difficult and rapidly changing circumstances.

“As we continue to battle against the impact of coronavirus, we want to provide customers with a level of certainty, which is why we are introducing some temporary changes to our timetable from Tuesday, January 4, until Tuesday, January 28, 2022.

“We’ve looked to spread these changes out across the day where possible to minimise the impact on our customers, but people should plan ahead and continue to check the train times right up until they arrive at the station.

“We urge anyone travelling with us to stay safe and continue to follow government guidance. This includes maintaining good hand hygiene and wearing a face covering for your entire journey.”

Robert Samson, transport focus senior stakeholder manager, said: “It’s better for some services to be temporarily withdrawn on a planned basis than to have chaotic last-minute cancellations as these are harder for passengers to deal with.

“Passengers need clear, reliable information to plan their journeys and a timetable that is dependable. These temporary changes to the timetable should deliver an increased level of certainty for passengers.”

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