SCOTRAIL says it has reinstated train carriages on a number of busy commuter routes to and from Helensburgh after concerns were raised over a lack of social distancing during peak times.

The rail operator had been urged by Helensburgh’s MSP, Jackie Baillie, to increase the number of carriages on its rush hour services to allow for the proper social distancing of passengers.

Ms Baillie said a constituent contacted her to say that they were unable to keep even one metre apart from other passengers on a weekday morning service on the Helensburgh to Glasgow line.

ScotRail cited a reduction in its passenger numbers as a reason for reducing the number of carriages but this has resulted in passengers having to sit closer together than is currently safe to do, according to Ms Baillie.

READ MORE: MSP raises Covid travel ban concern as Helensburgh and Lomond stays in level 2

She said: “I understand that ScotRail will be experiencing a drop in passenger numbers at the moment but with the need for social distancing to be followed, a drop in numbers cannot equate to a reduction in carriages.

“It is unacceptable that passengers are forced to put their health, and the health of others, at risk when travelling on ScotRail trains.

“I have urged ScotRail to rethink the number of carriages that they provide, at least for the busier rush hour services which a significant number of people still rely on.”

A ScotRail spokesperson said: “We reduced the number of carriages in response to an 80 per cent fall in the number of passengers travelling across our routes because of the coronavirus pandemic.

“However, following customer and staff feedback, we have reinstated carriages to several of the busier services on the North Clyde routes. This will ensure there is enough room for everyone to maintain the recommended one metre physical distancing on the train.

“The safety of our staff and customers is our priority. We’re asking everyone to play their part, follow our five rules for safer travel, including the wearing of a face covering on trains and at stations, and keep each other safe.”

READ MORE: Helensburgh and Lomond commuter train services to be suspended

Last week the Advertiser reported that vital train services linking Helensburgh and Lomond with Glasgow are to be suspended next month.

The morning commuter train calling at Arrochar and Tarbet at 0710, Garelochhead at 0730 and Helensburgh Upper at 0742 has been withdrawn from the company’s winter timetable, which starts on December 13.

The service, which also calls at Cardross at 0750, is the only one on the West Highland line which arrives at Glasgow Queen Street before 9am.

From December 13 onwards, the first southbound train of the day on the West Highland route won’t arrive in Glasgow until 11.31am.

Travellers who board at Oban, where the train starts at 0521, Crianlarich, Ardlui and other intermediate stations on the route will also be affected by the change.

And it’s not the only local service facing the axe: the 0805 ‘commuter extra’ service from Helensburgh Central to Springburn will also be suspended from the start of the winter timetable.

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