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New ScotRail service cuts spark protests

A new reduced ScotRail timetable will come into effect on Monday and there have been protests from politicians and business leaders about the scale of the cutbacks, which have reduced the timetable by a third, removing 700 services from the timetable. ScotRail is blaming the pandemic for holdups in driver training, and says a new ballot for strikes by the drivers’ union ASLEF is also threatening more problems. Many drivers have already been declining to work overtime or on rest days, which ScotRail says has caused ‘the recent disruption and our need to introduce a temporary timetable’. ScotRail, which was renationalised at the start of April, says it wants to resolve the dispute with the trade unions. Meanwhile, ASLEF has attributed the crisis to ‘political interference in industrial relations’.

Report urges more rail competition for aviation

A new report from the high speed rail lobbying group Greengauge21 says that high speed rail could attract many more short-haul air passengers if services are improved and extended. The report was commissioned by the High Speed Rail Group, and says that before the pandemic there had been 16,700 domestic air passengers on an average day. The routes they used were mostly concentrated on a few key corridors, with 57 per cent flying between London and Scotand, and says there is a need to examine the case for more long-distance, non-stop, point-to-point trains.

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