Train bosses have come under fire amid claims they have slashed the number of direct services between a north-east town and the Central Belt.
Last month Scotrail changed its service timetables across the country with the promise that they would bring “faster journeys, more seats, and more services” for rail passengers.
However, commuters in Stonehaven claim they have lost out because of the changes, with as few as four services between the coastal town and Glasgow on a weekday.
Now passengers are forced to get off at Montrose to switch trains, with zero direct journeys between 8am and 6pm.
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Commuters are forced to wait for a connecting train for up to 30 minutes in often bitterly cold conditions at the station, which has been at the centre of a row over a long-promised upgrade.
Malcolm Ritchie, a company director, lives in the town and travels back and forth to Glasgow as his firm is based there.
He claims he has written twice to Scotrail to complain about the changes and has, as yet, received no response.
He said: “At the very least the facilities at Montrose need improved.
“I go down for business quite regularly and sometimes you don’t want to have to get a 7am train, but if you want to leave later you now have to change. It adds to the journey and the inconvenience, I don’t understand why a town the size of Stonehaven is losing out – it’s very disappointing.
“It’s particularly bad if you’re coming back at night and have to get off a train you know is going to end up in Aberdeen anyway and you have to stand in what is nothing more than a plastic shelter, it’s perishing.”
North-east MSP Liam Kerr has been calling for improvements at Montrose for some time.
He said: “Timetable changes have led to extra stops at Portlethen and Laurencekirk but fewer direct trains cross-country.
“Travellers who change trains at Montrose often exposed to bitterly cold conditions while they wait.
“On behalf of a number of constituents, I asked Scotrail to redesign the station with an indoor waiting room and proper toilet facilities.
“I am going to keep an eye on the experience for passengers, meantime.”
A Scotrail spokesman said: “The improvements made in our December timetable is just the first phase of the work to deliver for our customers over the next 12 months.
“The investment the Scotrail Alliance is making to modernise the railway, introduce new and upgraded trains means we will deliver faster journeys, more seats, and more services for our customers.”