Commuters in Oban were left facing another day of travel disruption as engineering works saw the town’s main rail line close for an unplanned sixth day.
Train services between Oban and Crianlarich were suspended for the entire day yesterday, as Network Rail engineers conducted a series of safety checks on the line.
The route originally closed on Saturday as the works between Oban station and at the Orchy viaduct, near Loch Awe, got underway; with the line due to re-open yesterday.
After heavy rain and high winds wreaked havoc across the Highlands this week, the rail operator confirmed the line would remain closed as engineers remained on site to ensure it was clear of obstructions and potential damage.
A Network Rail spokesman said: “The engineering works at both Oban station and at the Orchy viaduct were completed on-time. The recent extreme weather could have caused damaged between Oban and Loch Awe during the line closure so engineers are inspecting the track and embankments to make sure it is clear of any obstructions or potential safety issues.”
Replacement bus services between the two stations remained in operation during yesterday’s closure, with all services between Oban and Glasgow Queen Street terminating and beginning from Crianlarich.
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However, the Scottish rail operator confirmed that the six stations located between Oban and Crianlarich – including, Tyndrum Lower, Dalmally, Loch Awe, Falls of Cruachan, Taynuilt and Connel Ferry – would remain out of service.
A ScotRail spokesman added: “We’re sorry to customers for the disruption caused by Network Rail’s overrunning engineering works, and share their frustration when these things happen.
“Anyone who has been delayed by 30 minutes or more is entitled to compensation under our Delay Repay Guarantee. To claim, customers just need to keep hold of their ticket and visit our website.”
Councillor Julie McKenzie for Oban North and Lorn said: “Whilst engineering work to the line has caused inevitable disruption, the extreme nature of the recent weather conditions has also caused considerable problems to transport connections across the area.
“Understandably there is frustration for commuters, however it’s imperative at this time, that staff are given adequate time to carry out checks in order to ensure that the railway is safe to reopen.”
Meanwhile, rail services to Inverness were also subject to a series of delays yesterday.
The 12.09pm service leaving from Glasgow was delayed at Aviemore by 11 minutes following issues surrounding slippery lines; meanwhile, the southbound 12.53pm service from Inverness to Edinburgh remained stuck at Perth for a short time due to a late running train ahead.
Also, two services heading east through Aberdeen – prior to their arrival in Inverness – were terminated at Dundee, as a result of a derailed Scotrail train at Stonehaven.