Football fans from Aberdeen and the Highlands could be left stranded in Glasgow following Scotland’s crucial World Cup match with Ukraine due to cancelled ScotRail services.
The operator announced earlier this week that it would cut over 700 services to offset the impact of the drivers dispute over pay.
The last service travelling from Glasgow to Aberdeen is now at 6.41pm instead of after 9pm with the final chance to get back to Inverness coming at 7.07pm – both before the match on June 1 has even kicked off.
The reduced timetable has outraged fans and opposition leaders as it does not allow fans from Aberdeen or the north to travel back once the match is finished.
The match starts at 7.45pm meaning fans will have to pay to stay in Glasgow overnight if they still want to cheer their team on – or arrange for alternative transport.
‘ScotRail must put on additional services’
Scottish Conservatives have concerns that fans will be left stranded and have urged the Scottish Government to resolve the situation.
The government took back ownership of the previously privately-run ScotRail in April and has since tried to rehabilitate the brand’s image.
Scottish Conservative Shadow Secretary for Net Zero, Energy and Transport Liam Kerr said: “The play-off with Ukraine is Scotland’s most important World Cup clash since we last reached the tournament itself in 1998, so the SNP Government and ScotRail must ensure the tens of thousands of fans attending can get home that night.
“We know that much of the Tartan Army hail from our northern cities, so they need to be catered for appropriately.
“It’s completely unacceptable that the last trains to Aberdeen, Dundee and Perth leave before the match has even kicked off.
“Many of these supporters will have work the following morning, even assuming they can afford the expense of an overnight hotel stay in Glasgow.
ScotRail to issue travel advice
“ScotRail simply must lay on additional, later services that night.
“It’s imperative that Jenny Gilruth and her colleagues thrash out a resolution with the unions to ensure normal service on Scotland’s railways is resumed as soon as possible.”
In response to calls for additional services for major events, Phil Campbell, ScotRail Head of Customer Operations, said: “We’ll be issuing travel advice for the upcoming Scotland internationals in the lead up to the games.”
Transport Minister Jenny Gilruth will be meeting with transport bosses to find a potential solution to the ongoing disruption. The Scottish Government has been contacted to comment.
Meanwhile, Highland MP Jamie Stone has also queried the new timetable, which could negatively impact rural communities that are now served by less frequent trains.
He said: “Highlanders who rely on the train network to access work, medical care and onward travel urgently need assurances from the government that their lives are not going to be turned upside down.”