TWO people fainted and a pregnant woman fell ill due to overcrowding on the Borders railway, Nicola Sturgeon has been told.

SNP MSP Christine Grahame said the service had been hit with two peak-time cancellations as she raised its continued “failures” at First Minister’s Questions.

Responding, Ms Sturgeon reiterated that ScotRail is now in the “last chance saloon” and will be stripped of its franchise if it does not improve.

It comes after the Scottish Government issued ScotRail with a second “remedial plan notice” last month after it missed passenger satisfaction targets.

Ms Grahame said: “It give me no pleasure to raise, yet again, failures on the Borders railway.

“However, just today there were two peak time cancellations and as a result of overcrowding on later trains, two people fainted – one even requiring medical assistance – and there was also a pregnant woman made ill.

“Does the First Minister agree with me that for [ScotRail boss] Alex Hynes to claim at committee last week, ‘Customers are already benefiting from improved service delivery’, that he needs to get out and about on the Borders trains to hear what my constituents think of his improvements?”

Ms Sturgeon insisted this level of “discomfort and inconvenience for passengers as a result of overcrowding in no way reflects the service level for which this Government – and indeed Scottish taxpayers, of course – are paying”.

She added: “I’ve been informed that the cancellations today are the consequence of a train that failed earlier this morning, but I will certainly reinforce to Mr Hynes and his colleagues the critical nature of providing a service that passengers can rely on and feel safe and comfortable to use.

“Improvements across ScotRail’s services have been patchy, with passengers in the east of the country continuing to be let down by ScotRail.”

Dutch-owned Abellio has held the 10-year franchise to run most of Scotland’s trains since 2015.

The operator is now finalising a remedial plan to address ongoing problems, with this then becoming a binding “remedial agreement”.

If it fails to deliver on it, ministers would be entitled to end the franchise early.

Ms Sturgeon said Transport Secretary Michael Matheson met with senior Abellio officials on Monday “to reinforce the absolute requirement for improvement”.

She added: “I said a couple of weeks ago in this chamber that ScotRail is in the last chance saloon, and I repeat that today.”

Last month, Ms Grahame used FMQs to hit out at “travel chaos” on the Border railway, which is in her constituency.