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Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross MP Jamie Stone slams 'laughable' defence of ScotRail services on Far North Line

By Philip Murray

Locator of train at Inverness Train Station. Picture Gary Anthony.
Locator of train at Inverness Train Station. Picture Gary Anthony.

“LAUGHABLE” defences of ScotRail’s Highland services by the country’s transport minister are “verging on the pathetic”, an infuriated MP has argued.

Far North MP Jamie Stone has hit out at the Scottish Government’s “long list of excuses on ScotRail” after he received a reply from transport secretary Michael Matheson to his letter highlighting cancellations, delays and poor services.

Mr Stone said: “I was disappointed with the Transport Secretary’s reply. His long list of excuses just won’t wash.

“Mr Matheson’s reply was simply a long list of excuses that is alarmingly out of touch with the general public’s very high level of dissatisfaction with ScotRail. Passengers want their trains to be value for money, reliable and well-equipped. Recently they’ve being getting none of that.

“In particular the lame attempt to portray ScotRail as “one of the better performing large rail franchises in Great Britain” verges on the pathetic.

“Passengers using the service would fall about in laughter on hearing this.”

Responding to Mr Stone’s earlier letter, Mr Matheson defended the Scottish Government’s handling of the network, citing its “record investment in Scotland’s railways.”

“A significant amount is being funded to increase rolling stock, delivering an additional 200 carriages to provide much needed additional capacity to passengers.”

Mr Matheson also stressed that ScotRail’s operator, Abellio, could also be served penalties for failing to provide catering facilities on certain routes – an issue that has plagued the Far North Line in recent times.

He added: “Specifically for your constituency, over £54m is being invested to deliver 26 fully refurbished high speed trains”.

Those high speed trains – Intercity 125s – run as far north as Inverness, outside Mr Stone’s Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross constituency.

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