THE Fife Circle train from Edinburgh is one of Scotland’s most overcrowded trains.

The 6.25pm service from the capital to Glenrothes with Thornton via Dunfermline is the fourth-busiest in the country.

Commuters are squeezed into the two carriages which are running 17 per cent over capacity according to new figures from Transport Scotland.

The maximum number of passengers recorded was 201, operating with 29 more than the planned seating and standing capacity of 172.

The section of the route where the passenger volume most exceeded seats available was between Haymarket and Inverkeithing.

Back in November, the Press launched our Crush Hour campaign highlighting the overcrowded and unreliable services West Fifers were forced to put up with on their daily commute.

A ScotRail spokesman said: “The work we are doing to introduce brand new and upgraded trains will significantly boost the number of seats available to our customers across the country.

“Customers across the network are already benefitting from the considerable investment in our trains and we are working round the clock to deliver even more.”

A Transport Scotland spokeswoman said the £475 million investment in new Hitachi trains and £54 million on high speed trains would “transform” travel on key routes and between Scottish cities.

More than 30 trains have had leases extended, providing more seats on many routes, she added.

“We wholly appreciate the impact of overcrowding on rail services and, as such, actively publish the top 10 busiest trains in an open and transparent fashion on an annual basis,” she said.

“By 2019, we will have increased capacity by 50 per cent over 2007 levels and passengers across the country will reap the benefits of this.”
Scotland’s busiest service is the 4.34pm from Edinburgh to Perth, running at 136 per cent of planned capacity.

The two-carriage train has carried 234 passengers at peak periods despite its official capacity being 172 seated and standing.
ScotRail staff have also voted to take industrial action over pay for working on rest days.

The National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT) balloted its members who voted “overwhelmingly” for action.

The union is seeking pay parity with ScotRail drivers who are reported to be paid up to £300 for working on a rest day while other workers receive less.

RMT members have been instructed not to volunteer for overtime and rest day working from next Wednesday until further notice.

Mick Cash, RMT general secretary, said: “It cannot be right that the company seem to value one group of workers over another. 

“All staff should be treated equally and fairly and that is all that the union is calling for. We remain available for further genuine and meaningful talks.”

Angus Thom, ScotRail chief operating officer, said: “ScotRail is investing more than £4 million in 140 new frontline roles to improve the work-life balance of our people and provide a better service to our customers.

“This investment means more people employed by ScotRail and will significantly reduce the need for rest day working.

“We are disappointed by this decision (by the RMT) but we will continue to work with our people and their trade union representatives on this.”