MORE than 600 rail services on the Fife Circle have been cancelled since the nationalisation of ScotRail, figures have revealed.

A Freedom of Information request submitted by Conservative MSP Murdo Fraser found that a total of 2,000 routes were affected by cancellations across Mid-Scotland and Fife since Holyrood took over on April 1.

Of these, 343 full cancellations took place on the inner Fife Circle, the highest across the whole region, and an additional 279 on the outer line.

Mr Fraser has slammed the data as "utterly shocking", claiming that many politicians had predicted a "deteriorated" service when Holyrood took over the rail operator.

He said: "These rail service cancellations that hit commuters living in Mid Scotland and Fife are utterly shocking and show how badly the service has deteriorated for passengers since ScotRail was nationalised.

"Many of us predicted this would happen as soon as the SNP Government announced they were to nationalise ScotRail but I don’t think we expected figures like these.

"Many of my constituents had previously complained about the poor service they experienced, particularly those who used the Fife Inner Circle line, with cancellations, trains delayed and overcrowding. So I know they will be very upset and concerned to learn of these appalling statistics."

He continued: "To have nearly 2,000 cancellations of scheduled rail services on trains that were due to travel through Mid Scotland and Fife since April 1 is just not on, and sums up the incompetence of the SNP in not acting on these figures and addressing why so many trains were cancelled.

"We should have known that the standard of our rail service would fall once the SNP got their hands on it – it is all too predictable given their past record on taking over the likes of Prestwick Airport, ferries and their miserable record on being in charge of devolved matters such as the health service, education and justice."

Transport Minister Jenny Gilruth has been "quite clear" that performance in Fife is in need of improvement, according to Transport Scotland.

A spokesperson said: "The Transport Minister has been quite clear that performance and train availability in Fife has to improve, indeed it was one of the reasons the planned festive works have been postponed in this area.

"Both ScotRail and Scottish Rail Holdings are clear on the Minister’s expectations in this regard."