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Disruption expected across Highlands on train network

By Alan Shields

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Travellers are being warned of a train driver shortage that is likely to disrupt rail services.

A temporary timetable will be brought in next Monday due to a pay dispute between drivers' unions and ScotRail.

Some routes will see the last departing train leave at 8pm, according to sources.

Many train drivers are refusing overtime and union Aslef balloted members for strike after rejecting a 2.2 per cent pay offer.

ScotRail and Aslef have been contacted for comment.

Meanwhile Highland Liberal Democrat MP Jamie Stone has written to Scottish Government Transport Minister, Jenny Gilruth, to pose six questions about the ScotRail timetable cuts in the Highlands.

From Monday, the last train to Caithness from Inverness will leave at 2pm, with the 6.30pm service slashed. The final train to Tain will leave at 5.12pm, after ScotRail cut the 9pm departure.

The Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross MP has now written to the Transport Minister to query the impact the changes will have on Highland healthcare provision, workers’ rights, businesses and the environment.

He has also sought information on whether extra bus services would be added in Highland to ensure people are still able to travel.

Commenting on the letter, Mr Stone said: “My constituents are worried and angry about what these cuts mean for their daily lives. From hospital access to the tourism economy, people in the Highlands appear to have been hardest hit by ScotRail’s timetable changes.

"Highlanders who rely on the train network to access work, medical care and onward travel urgently need assurances from the government that their lives are not going to be turned upside down. The Transport Minister must provide this at the very earliest opportunity.”

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