WEST FIFERS are being encouraged to only travel by train if necessary and to consider alternative options amid continuing RMT rail strikes.

The latest strike action will see services reduced across the Central Belt, Fife and the Borders with trains between Edinburgh Waverly and Cowdenbeath reduced to just two services per hour.

While ScotRail staff are not involved, it will hit services as the pay dispute and planned action does involve Network Rail staff in Scotland.

David Simpson, ScotRail service delivery director, said: "It’s really disappointing to see more widespread disruption across the whole Great Britain rail network as a result of the dispute between Network Rail and the RMT at a time when we need to be encouraging more people back to the railway.

“For ScotRail, it’s going to mean that we won’t be able to operate the vast majority of our services between 3 and 7 January, which we know will be really frustrating for our customers."

Many of the Network Rail staff that are taking planned action in the dispute between RMT members and Network Rail are in safety-critical roles meaning the majority of ScotRail's services will be unable to run.

Strike action will be taking place on Tuesday, January 3, Wednesday, January 4, Friday, January 6, and Saturday, January 7. Services will run on just 12 routes on strike days across Fife, the Central Belt and the Borders between 7.30am and 6.30pm.

He continued: “We’re advising customers to seek alternative means of transport and to only travel if they really need to on the days of strike action.

“Customers should check their journey in advance to make sure your train is running.”

Last trains will depart before 6.30pm so customers are being encouraged to plan ahead and ensure they know when their last train will leave. Services outwith the Central Belt, Fife and the Borders will not be able to run due to the reliance of manual signalling in these areas.

While Thursday, January 5 is not a strike day, the same limited timetable will be in operation. During planned action, and on January 5, customers are being encouraged to only travel if they really need to and to consider alternate means of travel.

Customers are also being advised to check the ScotRail App or the website, scotrail.co.uk, for the latest information before they travel.