SCOTRAIL Managing Director, Alex Hynes, confirmed this week that the level of investment needed to bring the rail network on the Fife Circle route up to standard was not in place and it was unlikely that the additional carriages required to meet demand will be in place until the latter part of next year.

In a face to face meeting with Fife MSP, Alex Rowley, Mr Hynes said that there were no more diesel locomotives available and additional locomotives and carriages would become available as new trains were introduced onto other routes. However, Mr Hynes said he could not predict when this would happen but that it would be at least June 2020 at the earliest.

Alex Rowley has now written to the Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity, Michael Matheson, and is calling for a number of actions to be put in place by the Scottish Government.

He said; “This is not an acceptable situation and action must be taken to give Fife a minimum acceptable standard of rail service”.

Services from Cardenden, Lochgelly and Cowdenbeath will continue to be affected.

The MSP is calling for a halt to the rail fares increase for the Fife Circle route until the services are of an acceptable standard.

He said: “Mr Hynes confirmed that it is planned to increase rail fares this January by 2.8%. When I suggested this was outrageous and no increases should take place until the services are at an acceptable level he simply said this was a matter for the Scottish Government.

"Hence, I am now calling on the Scottish Government to introduce a fares freeze on all Fife Circle train journeys until such time as we are getting an acceptable service.

“I am also asking the Scottish Government to order a review of the Fife services and bring forward a clear plan setting out what needs to happen to bring the services up to an acceptable standard, what the costs are and how they are to be met and a timetable for doing so.

"Train users from Fife are getting a raw deal, enough is enough, and we need assurances that the company and the Government are addressing the issues".

The Labour MSP has also highlighted the SNP Government's Programme for Government pledge to decarbonise Scotland’s railways by 2035 and has told the Cabinet Secretary this will require significant infrastructure investment and the electrification of the Fife Circle.

He said: “I am pushing this SNP Minister to tell us, is Fife going to be at the end of the line for these improvements as well.

"It is not acceptable that we are basically being given every other areas hand down trains when they are finished with them.

"It is not unreasonable to ask ScotRail and the Scottish Government to set out a clear costed plan for improvement to the Fife rail services, it is not unreasonable to ask the Scottish Government to freeze the fares until they address the issues and it is not unreasonable for hard working Fifers to expect a decent rail services in return for their hard earned cash”