THE number of complaints about the rail service in the Kingdom in the past three months is "completely staggering".

Mid Scotland and Fife Tory MSP Murdo Fraser said passengers lodged 225 grievances on a variety of issues between April 1 and June 20, with many concerning journeys to and from stations in West Fife.

ScotRail have apologised to customers and hope a resolution to the pay dispute with train drivers will help services to "recover".

However, Mr Fraser, who obtained the figures through a Freedom of Information request, said much of the criticism was not related to the current troubles on the track.

He said: "To have 225 complaints by Mid Scotland and Fife passengers since the SNP nationalised the rail service is completely staggering, and shows that action must be taken to address many of these issues.

"I would have expected complaints about the emergency timetables that were introduced as they meant people returning home from either work or a social occasion had to get an early train, and often curtail their night out.

“However, I am surprised at the number of complaints about cancelled trains and at the number of passengers who were unhappy with ScotRail staff.

"To have over 100 complaints made by passengers about the emergency timetables, overcrowding and cancelled train services does not create a good image of ScotRail at all.”

ScotRail was criticised for a lack of rail replacement services, unhelpful and rude staff, timetable changes, "inappropriate" customer behaviour, incorrect information given and dirty toilets.

There were also complaints about train doors not opening, no Wi-fi, fewer carriages, ticket machines not working, poor communication, refund policy, trains running late, non-availability of first-class seats and the carriage being too cold or too hot.

Mr Fraser continued: “The total number of complaints from passengers who boarded or were travelling to rail stations in Mid Scotland and Fife is a stark number in such a short time.

"I would expect the transport minister and the SNP Government to take note of these figures and raise them with ScotRail in a bid to address these issues.

"They underline the many challenges that face the SNP now they have taken over the running of ScotRail.”

Due to a pay dispute, a significant number of ScotRail train drivers opted not to work overtime or on their rest days, which has led to hundreds of services being cancelled and a new temporary timetable being bought in – there were more than 40 complaints about this alone.

An improved five per cent pay deal means there's light at the end of the tunnel but a separate dispute, involving Network Rail workers, came down the tracks and saw no services at all in Fife last Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.

Phil Campbell, ScotRail head of customer operations, said: “We understand and share the frustration of our customers when things do not go to plan and we welcome the engagement we have with them to help improve their experience.

"We're sorry to our customers for the disruption they are facing as a result of the introduction of the temporary timetable.

"We are hopeful that the pay offer will be accepted and encourage ASLEF members to vote in favour so that we can re-focus our efforts on attracting more people back to the railway as we recover from the impact of the pandemic and deliver for customers.”