SCOTRAIL has come under fire for its poorest monthly performance in a year - off the back of introducing a new fleet of greener electric trains to help create "the best railway Scotland has ever had".

Some 84.4% of trains arrived within five minutes of schedule last month - the worst monthly performance since December, 2018, when the network was in turmoil with cancellations and delays after the introduction of the winter timetable.

The operator's current "public performance measure" (PPM) punctuality target - measured as a moving annual average "flatlined" at 88.3% - still below its target of 92.5% of services running on time, said Scottish Labour.

It is a one percentage point improvement over its worst annual punctuality for 12 years when the performance of the partnership with infrastructure owner Network Rail slipped to 87.3% in the year to November 10, last year.

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It comes as there remained some disruption to services after the winter timetable was introduced at the weekend promising additional services, 10,000 extra seats on key routes and a new station at Robroyston officially opened on Monday.

The Herald: ScotRail stock

The new station, in the north east of Glasgow, will offer local residents access to the railway network for the first time since 1956.

There was some disruption on launch on Sunday, when a vehicle hit a rail bridge at Luncarty, forcing the closure of the line between Perth and Inverness.

Replacement buses were laid on for passengers while Network Rail engineers made the bridge safe.

On Monday there were some cancellations and delays to services between Glasgow Central and Ayr, Gourock, Wemyss Bay, Ardrossan Harbour and Largs, due to a signalling system fault.

READ MORE: Move to end 'failing' ScotRail franchise early is rejected

And in ScotRail's latest monthly report, the incidents reported that caused significant delays and cancellations in the latest monthly period which runs from November 10 to December 7 were all issues that were the responsibility of Network Rail.  They included a signalling failure at Bathgate, a points failure at Airdrie, signalling, a broken rail at its Glasgow Exhibition Centre station and a track circuit failure at Bridgeton.

In December, last year, the new timetable with the introduction of high speed trains and new class 385 electric trains which would was to usher in faster trips was billed as building the "best railway Scotland has ever had".

The launch led to months of cancellations and disruption to services with much of it put down to staff shortages partly because they have been undergoing training to deal with the new trains and timetable.

ScotRail was forced to submit a plan by February 19 to address falling performance levels which if unsuccessful could result in a breach of contract and lead to Dutch transport firm Abellio losing the ScotRail franchise early. A remedial plan to improve performance has been in place since February.

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Flashback to complaints after ScotRail launched new timetable in December, last year

The Scottish Government are currently in the process of deciding whether to extend the ScotRail contract beyond its first expiry date in 2022. If they decide not to let the contract end at this point it will be extended until at least 2025.

Scottish Labour’s transport spokesman Colin Smyth said: “ScotRail’s poor performance is continuing to let passengers down, with the worst punctuality level for a year. The SNP have the power to end this franchise early, but they are quickly running out of time to do so.

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“Michael Matheson must be clear with passengers about whether he intends to reward failure by extending the franchise and handing Abellio another three years running Scotland’s railways or will he for once put passengers before the profits of the big rail firms and end this failing franchise.”

ScotRail put a positive spin on the latest figures, saying that it was the best November/December period performance since 2015/16.

READ MORE: Average of almost 50 trains a day cancelled by ScotRail

A ScotRail spokesman said: “Everyone across Scotland’s Railway has worked tirelessly to deliver a more stable, reliable, and robust service during this challenging time of year, and it’s encouraging to see that we delivered the best Autumn performance in five years.

“We understand and share the frustration of our customers when things do not go to plan, and we’ll continue to work flat out to deliver the service our customers expect and deserve.”