Key rail link closure fury

QUESTIONS are being asked why the train link between Cumbernauld and Motherwell did not operate for THREE WEEKS during the cold snap.

Students who travel to Motherwell College and local employees at North Lanarkshire Council headquarters in the town are thought to have been the worst affected by the shutdown, which also affected other hubs such as Coatbridge.

Last week we reported that services were returning to normal - but the hourly service to Motherwell took longer to restore. A number of complaints have been made to Scotrail from angry locals who argued that the train route was the only means of avoiding the treacherous road conditions that dogged Lanarkshire.

Central Scotland List MSP Jamie Hepburn has written to Scotrail over the issue.

He is also demanding to know whether the company will face penalties for the withdrawal of the service - and whether passengers will be compensated.

He said: ''The severe weather has caused disruption across Scotland and that is understandable but it is outrageous that this line seems to have been singled out with apparently no effort being made to run any kind of service or special timetable which has happened elsewhere. Many local people rely on these trains and while the rest of the country has seen efforts to return to normal, passengers on this line have been left high and dry.

"Scotrail must answer these serious questions."

A ScotRail spokesman said: "I can confirm a letter has been received and we will respond directly to Mr Hepburn.

"Difficult decisions have had to be taken by the rail industry as a whole following the impact on infrastructure and our trains during the unprecedented and prolonged severe weather.

"These decisions included the withdrawal of the Motherwell-Cumbernauld services. However, there are alternative rail services for travel between Motherwell and Glasgow Central as well as Cumbernauld and Glasgow Queen Street. We worked hard to reinstate the services as soon as possible and apologise to customers for any inconvenience."

He said refunds will apply to unused portions of tickets where routes were severely disrupted or where trains were cancelled.