SCOTRAIL have apologised after thousands of passengers were hit by cancelled trains, overcrowded carriages and service delays as the first working day of its new timetable turned into what some described as a "shambles".

Many of the scrapped journeys were caused by ScotRail staff not being ready for the implementation of the new winter timetable which was to usher in faster trips to build what the operator said was the "best railway Scotland has ever had".

ScotRail said they were also still facing impacts from the now-resolved pay dispute with the RMT union.

Passengers had been experiencing disruption since the start of the month when a number of services were affected.

The RMT had been calling for better rest day payments for train staff in line with train drivers. The improved pay offer was agreed following talks on Tuesday, last week and will affect 3,500 train conductors and other staff.

HeraldScotland:

As of 1pm on Monday there were 31 live train cancellations running to the end of the day. It is understood more had been cancelled in the morning.

Some 21 of the 31, including rush hour evening services from Glasgow to Edinburgh had been cancelled due to " a shortage of train crew".

By 6pm there were at least a further 11 train cancellations due to a mixture of train faults and staff shortages, plus 35 alerts over delays.

READ MORE: Complaints on service cuts in new train timetable as ScotRail 'builds best railway Scotland has ever had"

Scotrail were unable to say how many cancellations there had been in total on Monday.

Dutch company Abellio, which runs Scotland's railways launched its new timetable with a pledge to deliver "faster journeys, more seats and more services for its customers" with the introduction of high speed trains and new class 385 electric trains.

HeraldScotland:

The Herald revealed before the timetable launch that increasing numbers are complaining to ScotRail that any improvements were coming at a cost to other travellers with fares increasing by an average of 2.8% next year.

At least one MSP, Mark Ruskell who represents mid-Scotland and Fife is seeking urgent talks with the transport secretary Michael Matheson over what he described as "a major cause for concern" over the timetable.

ScotRail declared the flagship Edinburgh to Glasgow rail link would see the fastest journey time cut to just 42 minutes as part of a £858 million upgrade.

But a Herald analysis of the changes shows that amounts to just one train out of 173 leaving Glasgow Queen Street for Edinburgh Waverley after the new timetable kicks in on Sunday. The 2pm train on the first working day of the new timetable, outside of rush hour, is scheduled to take 42 minutes, with the same train just six minutes slower under the old timetable.

HeraldScotland:

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Issues with the timetable began on Sunday, the first day of the new timetable, and continued into Monday, leading customers to register their disgust in their droves.

Jennifer Paterson told ScotRail that on Sunday she faced an hour wait with her three-year-old after a Dunblane to Edinburgh Waverley train was cancelled.

She told ScotRail: "We have been affected hugely over the past few weeks with train cancellations due to train crew shortage and you have done nothing to reassure your regular customers that you are doing everything you can to sort out this situation."

Another customer, Woody Blondkopf added: "This is the fourth time in five days I have not been able to complete my journey on time because of cancellations. I've now missed a hospital appointment this morning. Thanks ScotRail.

"The new timetable has now taken effect, and yet still trains are cancelled! So what excuses are you going to hide behind now? When are you going to take responsibility for your shoddy service?"

HeraldScotland:

Sherrill Stewart added during the Monday evening rush hour: "Utter pants! No improvement on my journey between Polmont & Edinburgh Park. Cancellations due to no staff so only running hourly service and i'm still standing like a sardine! You urgently need the contract removed. Absolute shambles.

One cynical customer suggested ScotRail set up two Twitter accounts, one for important updates "that I need to follow" and the other for "utter cr*p about how good you think you are, which I can choose not to follow."

ScotRail responded: "We've not plans to set up another account. We're here and will continue to publish info about Scotland's railway. "[We are] not aware of any 'utter cr*p' being tweeted. We have been tweeting about the delivery of our new timetable and the improvements we've introduced though."

HeraldScotland:

ScotRail was unable to say how many train services had been cancelled on Monday.

When initially the operator  said that only around 30 out of over 2,400 services had gone.

When the Herald pointed to extra numbers,   the train operator admitted that this was the number of planned cancellations as a result of staff shortages and faults, and that anything additional was the result of disruption throughout the day.  

ScotRail sources said the cancellations on Monday were down to a number of factors - including the late arrival of the new Hitachi Class 385 and high-speed InterCity trains which impacted their ability to train staff in time for the new timetable. This was exacerbated by the now-resolved RMT trade union rest day working dispute.

A ScotRail spokesman said: “We’re sorry to our customers who have experienced disruption today – around 99 per cent of our 2,400 services have ran, and we’re working hard to improve that for tomorrow.

“This timetable is just the first in a series of improvements we are making for customers over the next year. Further timetable improvements will be delivered in May and December 2019.

HeraldScotland:

“The investment ScotRail and Network Rail is making to electrify more lines and introduce new and upgraded trains means we will deliver faster journeys, more seats, and more services for our customers.”

Social media was awash with criticism of ScotRail.  Here is a selection of the many tweets.

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