POOR performance figures for Fife train services indicate that we are at the “back of the queue”.

That’s the view of Labour MSP Alex Rowley, who has urged the Scottish Government to end ScotRail operator Abellio’s contract following months of misery for Fife passengers.

The latest Public Performance Measures (PPM) from ScotRail show that Fife stations in the East experience far more delays then stations in the West of Scotland.

Just 80.6 per cent of West Fife trains that terminate in Kirkcaldy arrive within five minutes of their booked time, while at Glenrothes it’s 84.2 per cent, Cardenden per cent and Cowdenbeath per cent.

However, stations in the west of the country are performing much better; PPM for Mount Florida is sitting at 97.7 per cent, Neilson 97 per cent and Paisley Gilmour Street 96.8 per cent.

Mr Rowley told the Press: “We are at the back of the queue and it is not acceptable.

“It is interesting that the Transport Minister has still not met with me when I’ve requested to talk about the poor performance on the East Coast.

“Even with the investment that they are promising is coming, we are depending on other areas for extra carriages and trains.

“It is clear how the ScotRail strategy works and in some cases, they are charging us more.

“We are behind other parts of the country yet, shortly, rail users are going to see that the prices are going up.

“The clear answer to this is that the Scottish Government need to inform Abellio that they do not intend to renew the franchise.”

The Public Performance Measure (PPM) across Scotland’s railway (October 13-November 9, 2019) was 84.7 per cent, which was 4.2 per cent better than the same period last year.

Since November 2017, the Press has been highlighting ScotRail’s consistently poor performance through our Crush Hour campaign, with overcrowded, delayed and cancelled trains commonplace on the Fife Circle.

ScotRail says that, with Network Rail, they have created a robust plan to help cope with the Autumn weather and the challenges it brings to the railway.

A fleet of specialist trains has been deployed to wash leaf debris off the line and spray rails with a glue-like coating to help train wheels grip the tracks.

Dedicated ‘Leaf Buster’ teams clear leaves before they have a chance to stick to the rails and rapid response crews are based at key points across the network ready to react quickly to clean specific locations where drivers report poor conditions.

They say groundbreaking new technology is being used and small tweaks have been made to the timetable.

A ScotRail spokesperson said: “Everyone across Scotland’s railway worked tirelessly to deliver a more stable, reliable and robust service during the challenging Autumn period, and it’s encouraging to see improvements from last year.

“We understand and share the frustration of our customers when things do not go to plan, and we’ll continue to work flat-out to deliver the service our customers in the Fife expect and deserve.”

The Scottish Government says Fife is set to benefit from further capacity improvements, which will be introduced incrementally as more refurbished HSTs enter service.

This includes both the 0630 Kirkcaldy-Edinburgh and the 1608 Edinburgh-Glenrothes service, which will be increased from two to four coaches in December.

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “Ministers and ScotRail are both deeply disappointed that, due to ongoing delays by HST supplier Wabtec, Fife is still waiting for further additional capacity.

“That said, two commuter services are being strengthened from two to four carriages in the December 2019 timetable change.

“The Cabinet Secretary continues to press the various organisations involved to ensure there is a strong focus on completing the refurbishment programme and has challenged ScotRail to look at options to maximise use of diesel trains to provide robust capacity for passengers in Fife.

“Despite this, performance has been improving across Fife compared to last year. Commuters have seen a substantial reduction in cancellations as a result of train crew shortages since April 2019, with planned seating capacity being maintained.”