A FIFE MSP will be "keeping a close eye" on Scotrail to make sure promised improvements in the Kingdom arrive when they're supposed to.

Murdo Fraser said passengers were fed up with overcrowded carriages, old diesel trains that keep breaking down and timetable changes that have left them with an "insufficient" service.

However after discussions last Thursday with transport minister Jenny Gilruth and representatives from Scotrail and Network Rail, he was told improvements are coming down the line.

Mr Fraser, who represents Mid Scotland and Fife, said: "At the meeting I raised the concerns from constituents about the Fife rail network and, in particular, the problem of overcrowding.

"It was acknowledged at the meeting that this is an issue.

"This has been primarily caused by ‘short trains’ with only two carriages, and it was revealed at the meeting that Scotrail are still using a diesel fleet of trains in Fife, and that these trains are more likely to break down.

“The plan is to improve maintenance on these trains so that by May there will be improved capacity, and this will substantially reduce the use of ‘short trains'."

After years of underperformance and criticism, Scotrail was nationalised by the Scottish Government in April last year.

Mr Fraser said that, at the meeting, the minister and rail bosses accepted there were "issues" with the recent proposed changes and "many people felt they were left with an insufficient service".

A new timetable is proposed from May 2024 and he continued: “In the longer-term – probably in the next five years – there is a plan to introduce electric trains in Fife, which will be a major improvement as electric trains are less likely to break down than diesel ones, and these trains should also keep to the timetable.

“I was grateful to all those who attended the meeting and very much welcome these planned improvements to the rail network in Fife.

"However, I will be keeping a close eye on these promises to make sure the Scottish Government meet their commitments.”

Scotrail said more staff at their maintenance depots will improve the reliability of their diesel trains, allowing more services to run with the number of carriages planned and reducing the number of crowded trains during peak times.

They'll add more carriages to weekend Fife services arriving in Edinburgh between 10am and 2pm and will trial half-hourly services from Cupar – which would call at Aberdour, Dalgety Bay and Inverkeithing – from May, and Lochgelly and Cardenden, with stops including Dunfermline, Rosyth, Inverkeithing and North Queensferry, from December.

Currently these are hourly services.

Longer term, passengers are being promised improvements, a restructuring of the timetable and additional journey opportunities when the Levenmouth line re-opens next year.

Joanne Maguire, Scotrail's chief operating officer, said: “Scotland’s railway is still very much in a period of recovery from the pandemic, but we know how much people right across the country rely on rail travel.

"That’s why everyone at Scotrail is focused on providing the safest, greenest and most reliable railway we can.

“As we welcome more people back to the rail network, and with the opening of the Levenmouth branch in 2024, we’ll make more changes to our timetable which will benefit the people of Fife.”

A Transport Scotland spokesperson said: "The challenges with performance on Fife services are well known to passengers, and the minister had tasked Scotrail with delivering an improvement plan focused on reducing the number of two carriage services (or ‘short formation’ services) and on improving performance more generally.

"This meeting was an important opportunity for Fife MSPs to raise any constituency concerns they had directly with Scotrail and the minister.”

The timetable will be reviewed and the spokesperson added: "There have clearly been challenges for Fifers in relation to the new timetable; Scotrail are live to this challenge and provided an assurance to elected members that the situation was being monitored to ensure improvements could be delivered as timeously as possible for passengers.”