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Nearly a fifth of far north trains had no trolley service in 2017 - Cllr Mackie reacts


Nearly a fifth of all train journeys on the Far North line last year did not offer a trolley service to passengers because of staffing problems.

Cllr Struan Mackie at Inverness Station with a Far North Line service to Wick and Thurso

Nearly a fifth of all train journeys on the Far North line last year did not offer a trolley service to passengers because of staffing problems.


New figures obtained from Scotrail by MSPs revealed that 434 trains ran without the service which offers teas, coffees, snacks and sandwiches.


A ScotRail Alliance spokesman stressed that the “vast majority” of trains had a trolley service, but admitted they had fallen behind the high standards they set to deliver on every service. He added that they are focused on recruiting more hospitality staff in Wick and Inverness.


But campaigners for improvements to the north line say they are fed up of the company’s excuses amid recent problems with cancelled and delayed trains on the route.


Cllr Mackie said the lack of refreshment trolleys on far north trains was “simply not acceptable”, adding: “with travel journeys regularly exceeding four hours the reliance on a trolly service is something that accepted and any lack of provision is simply unacceptable.


Figures released by Scotrail in December revealed that rail passengers to the far north were the worst affected in Scotland by delays, with only 64.2% of trains arriving at Wick station within five minutes of their scheduled time, the lowest in the country.


Just 38.1% of services were within one minute of their planned arrival time in Wick, the fourth-worst performance in that category.


Highland transport chiefs said that a series of 14 cancellations in November had a severe impact on the figures for the service to Wick.


Four of the six worst performing stations against the five minute target were all on the Far North Line, with Wick on 64.2%, Tain at 77.1%, Inverness at 78.6% and Invergordon at 79.3%.The national average was 90.03%.