CRUSH-HOUR commuters between West Fife and Edinburgh are fed up with the catalogue of delays and cancellations that disrupt their journeys.

Passengers are packed on to overcrowded carriages morning and night as they try to make their way to and from the capital.

Regularly, the Press sees complaints made to ScotRail about an unreliable service that has a detrimental effect on the daily lives of commuters.

And this week, Press reporter Gemma Ryder travelled with passengers on services on Friday morning and Monday evening.

They listed a legion of complaints, with “shocking”, “disgraceful” and “insufficient” being among the words that were used to describe the commuter run.

We travelled with passengers packed in like sardines and waited for services on Monday evening that were ALL delayed.

Now, the Press is standing up for West Fife commuters in fighting for a better service in our Crush Hour campaign, by asking ScotRail to stop trains skipping stations, provide extra carriages to prevent overcrowding, deliver extra services in rush hour, invest in infrastructure and give West Fifers fairer ticket prices.

Ferelith Jenkinson, a regular commuter between Dunfermline Town and Haymarket, spoke of the stress many parents face trying to get back in time for childcare.

“If you have any chance of getting back to West Fife before after-school clubs close at 6pm, the latest you can leave is on the 4.53pm service,” she said.

“If it’s delayed or cancelled then it causes a lot of stress and worry for people.”

For those travelling to West Fife for work, it appears their rail experience doesn’t differ either with Amazon worker Ian Banner telling the Press: “It’s not good enough. It’s like travelling on the sardine express.”

The latest figures show that 88.3 per cent of ScotRail trains arrived at stations within five minutes of their scheduled time in the four weeks up to October 14.

This is a fall from recent months, however, the operator remains above the UK average.

The figures may make for positive reading but our experience on the rush hour commute on Monday evening revealed delays on EVERY service.

William McNee, of Lochgelly, catches the train from Inverkeithing.

He said: “I’ve only been working in Edinburgh for the last six months.

“There are never enough carriages in the morning and I’m always standing.

“They are always delayed and regularly cancelled. I have to travel from Inverkeithing otherwise it would take me an hour and half just to get from Lochgelly.”

Overcrowding issues sit highly on the stack of complaints and the 17.57 service from Haymarket for our Press reporter was a horrendous commute.

On a two-carriage service, passengers were expected to make non-existent room for people joining at Edinburgh Gateway causing unbearable temperatures.

Commenting on the issue, Cat Wilson, said: “I would describe the experience as quite intrusive!

“Shockingly, it’s quite seldom that there are enough carriages, it’s so busy everyone is just squeezing on.”

And with a booming population in West Fife, how will ScotRail plan to invest in infrastructure to cope with demand?

Several long-term commuters told us they hadn’t seen any changes to the service in nine years, some said 12 years, and suggested more services needed to be added.

Andy Melrose and his colleague, Gary, from Dunfermline, who have been commuting to Edinburgh for the last 12 years, added: “Trains are always late, very unreliable and can be cancelled for no reason.

"We've been commuting from Fife for the last 12 years and we haven't seen any changes to services.

“We’re travelling on a 17.17 service that is very old, has no wifi, but we’re still expected to pay high rail fares.”

Fiona Barbour, from Rosyth, told the Press: “I’ve moved from Edinburgh to West Fife. After 5.23, me and my husband call it the black hole! There are no trains until nearly 6.”

Brian Hunter from Dunfermline added: “I have been travelling on the trains for a long time but actually think that it has got worse in the last six months.

"I have seen any changes to the timetable in those years too.”

Stewart Argo, travelling to Waverley, was the only passenger that said he didn’t think it was all doom and gloom though and praised ScotRail for their introduction of smart cards.

He said: "I pay a £1,700 a year and thankfully can get a seat, but if you're getting on in Rosyth or Inverkeithing, then there is no chance of getting a seat.

"Is it worth the price?

"In nine years there has been no change to the service.

"This many not be a popular opinion but I don't think it's all doom and gloom. The introduction of smart cards has been really handy so there are positives."

Passengers say delayed services are often skipping stations to arrive in time at their destination.

Amy, from Rosyth, told the Press: "I just stand because otherwise you can't get off! If it's not late, then it's a small train and you're packed in like sardines.

"I work at the shopping centre and sometimes I have been late, so I make sure I get as early a train as I can in case there are delays or cancellations."

Pick up your copy of this week's Press to find our double page spread of the campaign. 

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