Moray MP Douglas Ross has slammed “devastating” cuts to Scotrail services for rail passengers in the area, which have come into force today (Monday).
Only seven weeks after the SNP Government took over the running of Scotland’s rail network, almost 700 fewer services will be in operation across Scotland.
Douglas challenged SNP First Minister Nicola Sturgeon on the cuts at First Ministers Questions on Thursday where she admitted the cuts were unacceptable, but couldn’t confirm when train services will be fully restored.
The cuts are having a direct impact across Moray, particularly in the evening. The last service from Elgin to Inverness will now depart at 19:45, instead of 23:28, with that service leaving Keith at 19:25 and Forres at 19:58.
In reverse, the last service from Inverness-Elgin will now depart at 18:59, instead of 21:33. In total, the number of services between Elgin and Inverness have been reduced from 17 to 11 and from 15 to 10 the other direction.
Douglas says these cuts are yet another “devastating” blow for hospitality and night-time businesses who are only just getting back on their feet after the Covid pandemic and says the SNP’s nationalisation is proving to be disastrous after only seven weeks in operation.
Moray MP Douglas Ross said: “The SNP took over our rail network on April Fools Day, but these savage cuts are no joke for passengers, including those reliant on train services across Moray.
“In the evening in particular, passengers looking to get home from nights out, meals, gigs and other social events will simply find themselves unable to do so on the trains.
“That will be absolutely devastating for businesses who are only just recovering from the effects of the Covid pandemic. We are not talking about services departing a few minutes earlier, we are talking several hours earlier.
“Our rural and remote communities already feel cut off and this will only exacerbate those feelings. We are only seven weeks into Nat-Rail but it is already proving disastrous for passengers in Moray and across Scotland.
“The SNP boasted about delivering a new beginning for our railways last month, but all passengers are seeing fewer and fewer services, with no end in sight. Nicola Sturgeon had no answers when I challenged her at First Ministers Questions as to when this drastically reduced timetable will end.
“Moray’s passengers deserve to see urgent leadership from SNP Ministers to get an end to this situation as quickly as possible, otherwise the local economy will be dealt a hammer blow.”