Rail chiefs were forced to apologise after hundreds of Helensburgh commuters faced delays and disruption for four days in a row this week.

The problems were caused by slippery rails and signal faults on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday and by a broken down train on Thursday.

Disruption began on Monday morning, when "poor rail adhesion" in the Dalmuir area and a signalling fault at Craigendoran caused the cancellation of the 7.26am train from Helensburgh Central to Edinburgh.

The 7.56am service to Edinburgh was started from Dumbarton Central, and the 8.05am train to Springburn started at Dalreoch.

Trains on the Balloch-Airdrie, Dumbarton Central-Cumbernauld and Dalmuir-Whifflet/Larkhall routes were also affected.

The problems on the line were caused by one train being forced to slow down near Dalmuir due to leaves falling on the line – and had a knock-on effect on following services due to the volume of traffic that passes through the route.

The disruption forced many rush hour passengers to find other forms of travel, with train tickets being accepted for local bus services.

A ScotRail spokesman said: “We apologise to customers affected, and appreciate their frustration when delays happen.

“Compensation is available for customers who were delayed by 30 minutes or more. Simply keep hold of your ticket, and claim on the ScotRail website.”

The “slippery rails” were as a result of debris from crushed leaves on the tracks, leading to a hard coating which sticks to both the tracks and the wheels of the train, causing a lack of wheel grip and forcing drivers to slow down on services.

But the explanation didn't sit easily with some travellers, with one angry commuter on social media pointing out that most, if not all, of the autumn leaves had fallen from trees by Monday.

There was more disruption on Tuesday afternoon when another signalling fault, this time at Bellgrove, led to delays and cancellations on all routes through Glasgow Queen Street low level; the disruption lasted until around 7pm.

And then on Wednesday morning, slippery rails were once again to blame as the 6.56am train from Helensburgh was terminated at Dalmuir and the 8.05am to Springburn was cancelled altogether.

The disruption continued into Thursday morning's rush hour, when a broken down train at Dumbarton East led to the 7.26am train from Helensburgh missing out all station stops west of Dalmuir and to the 7.56am service being started from Hyndland.

Thursday also saw services on the West Highland Line via Ardlui, Arrochar and Tarbet, Garelochhead and Helensburgh Upper cancelled due to the effects of Storm Caroline on routes in the north and west of Scotland.