A much-lauded new ScotRail timetable was thrown into disarray on only its second day yesterday as a signalling fault at Aberdeen combined with staff shortages to cause travel chaos.
The new timetable – which will shave 10 minutes off journeys between Aberdeen and the Central Belt – was launched on Sunday.
Yesterday morning, however, rush hour services were plunged into turmoil when technical faults struck in the north-east.
Later in the day, a shortage of train crew meant that services between Edinburgh and the Granite City were stopped in Dundee and passengers had to board replacement buses.
The 3.30pm train from Scotland’s capital to Aberdeen was affected, along with the 7.16pm Aberdeen to Edinburgh service.
And elsewhere in the country, commuters lashed out at being “crammed” onto trains with too few carriages to meet demand.
When ScotRail announced its new timetable, it was hailed as playing a role in creating “the best railway Scotland has ever had”.
The organisation promised it would “deliver faster journeys, more seats, and more services for customers”.
Managing director, Alex Hynes, confirmed that the freshly refurbished inter-city trains running between Aberdeen and the Central Belt would arrive at their destination 10 minutes quicker following the rejig.
But customers were left furious when signalling problems at Aberdeen meant trains running through the station to Edinburgh and Glasgow were delayed yesterday morning.
One Twitter user, named Arrochar47, said: “What a farce your new timetable is @ScotRail.
“Train from Aberdeen to Dundee cancelled this morning and return tonight. This is not the best railway Scotland has ever had.”
In Falkirk, people complained that the new timetable had adversely affected services as they packed into a train with insufficient carriages.
The staff shortages which affected services between Aberdeen and Edinburgh in the afternoon and evening are part of a recurring problem.
In September, several services across the north and north-east were cancelled on the same day as ScotRail was unable to staff carriages.
And last Sunday, services between Glasgow and Oban/Fort William and Mallaig, and between Inverness and Kyle of Lochalsh, were cancelled as staff were pulled from their usual shifts for training sessions ahead of the timetable changes.
A ScotRail spokesman stressed that a recent recruitment drive should provide a long-term solution.