Rail users have been urged to check their journeys before travelling following dozens of cancellations due to rapid levels of coronavirus in Scotland. 

A total of 60 services were cancelled by ScotRail on Friday due to rising levels of self-isolation amongst staff. 

Services on the central belt are mainly being affected, the train operator said.

Nicola Sturgeon has said Scotland faced a "renewed and severe challenge" from an exponential rise in Covid and "may be starting to experience a potential tsunami of infections" driven by the highly mutated new strain.

During her media briefing on Friday, the First Minister said 60 ScotRail services have been cancelled due to staff shortages, mainly because of Covid.

Rising numbers of people being required to self-isolate are expected to put a strain on public services.

ScotRail said it has seen a sharp increase in staff being required to stay at home due to infections or being identified as a close contact.

The number stood at 38 last week and is at 50 this week.

This is mainly affecting services across the central belt of Scotland and the rail operator says its social media channels will be providing up-to-date information.

David Ross, ScotRail communications director, said: “We’re sorry to our customers who are being inconvenienced as a result of an increase in the number of our staff self-isolating due to Covid.

“We are working flat out to run a safe and reliable railway in difficult circumstances.”

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ScotRail have also cancelled their Santa Express trips around the Fife Circle tomorrow and next weekend in line with Scottish Government guidelines.