FIFE MSPs have demanded urgent action from ScotRail with “staff shortages” blamed for making an already failing train service even worse.

Conservative MSP Murdo Fraser called on the transport minister to “light a rocket” under failing rail bosses after passengers on the Fife Circle endured more misery this week.

Passengers have suffered a week of travel chaos with a catalogue of cancelled services, delayed journeys and overcrowded trains.

Transport Union RMT and its members are currently “working to rule” and are refusing to work overtime or on rest days.

As a result, trains are frequently cancelled due to “staff shortages”.

Over the weekend, RMT’s regional organiser, Michael Hogg, claimed that there was “no question” that it was industrial action that caused the disruption, claiming that “it’s absolute carnage out there”.

Labour MSP Claire Baker said she was seeking urgent meetings with RMT and ScotRail over the dispute.

She said: “Over the weekend, there were a raft of cancellations and delays and once again it is Fife that is being disproportionately hit.

"We know that RMT are working to rule and that this is more than likely causing the staff shortages.

"However, ScotRail are bizarrely claiming that it is down to staff training.

"If that is the case, it shows just how incompetent ScotRail are that they can’t run train services and staff training at the same time. It doesn’t bode well for the new timetable being introduced next week.”

At Topical Questions at Holyrood this week, Murdo Fraser said: “Over the course of the past weekend, travellers have had to put up with performance on our railways that has been nothing short of shambolic.

"To add insult to injury, ScotRail are planning on hiking prices in the New Year by an average of 2.8 per cent and scrapping the ‘Kids go Free’ promotion.

“Constituents across Fife are getting a particularly raw deal when it comes to value for money. Commuters wouldn’t mind so much paying more if services improved but if anything, performance is going in the opposite direction.

“I have called on the Scottish Government to light a rocket under the failing ScotRail bosses as the current situation is nowhere near good enough.”

The Press’ Crush Hour campaign has called for more seats and more trains as well as a later service home from Edinburgh at weekends but promised extra carriages for Fife will not be delivered until next year, and there will not be extra peak time or evening trains on the new timetable for the busy Fife Circle line.

Green MSP Mark Ruskell said: “This national review of the railway timetable has been several years in the planning but at no point did ScotRail actually consult with their own customers.

“If they had, they would have heard tales of constant overcrowding, long waits at stations, and nights out being cut short due to the lack of late-night trains in Fife.

“Instead, we have ended up with no improvements at all in Fife.

“It’s clear that we need a full review of services on the Fife Circle and a commitment as to when the extra rolling stock will be in place to help ease the overcrowding passengers have to put up with every day.”

A ScotRail spokesperson said: “We’re sorry to our customers who have experienced disruption to their journey.

"The majority of the impact is a result of our final push to deliver the December timetable improvements which will bring faster journeys, more seats, and more services for our customers.”