Scottish derailment casts a cloud over Coatbridge Sunnyside
Services in Central Scotland have faced a weekend of disruption and several more days of curtailed services. A derailment at a busy junction has wiped out a large proportion of suburban passenger services around Glasgow and disrupted freight movements too. The domestic passenger operator – publicly owned ScotRail, also faces a driver shortage, which the operator addresses with an emergency timetable.
An empty passenger train derailed on Friday, 6 May, outside Glasgow and has been causing a headache for operators ever since. The slow-speed incident at Coatbridge Sunnyside – between Glasgow and Edinburgh – did not injure anyone but has left a six-car formation blocking tracks. Operator ScotRail has cancelled “hundreds” of trains. The operator also says it cannot raise enough drivers to operate its full service due to unofficial withdrawal of overtime and rest day cooperation.
Some freight rerouting may be required
Coatbridge is at the junction of two lines. East to west, there is a busy line between Edinburgh and Glasgow via Bathgate and Airdrie. Some scheduled freight services use the line to access West central Scotland terminals and reach the East Coast Main Line. It is this line that is primarily blocked by the derailed train at Sunnyside Junction.
The junction gives access to the north-south running line, connecting the West Coast Main Line and destinations to the North. Intermodal traffic at Coatbridge Freightliner Terminal and through traffic heading to and from the north of Scotland should be unaffected.
Several days disruption
“We’re sorry to customers who are experiencing disruption to their journey as a result of this incident”, said David Simpson, ScotRail service delivery director, shortly after the incident. “Engineers are on site and working round the clock to get the train back on the tracks and return services to normal as quickly as possible. However, we’re expecting some disruption for the remainder of the weekend.”
Network Rail were still on site late on Sunday, 8 May. “Once clear of the site, we’ll then be able to access the damaged track and signalling to make repairs”, they said in a post. “This will take time, but we’ll keep you updated as work progresses over the coming days.”
A quick update from Coatbridge Sunnyside. Engineers are making good progress in rerailing the train. It’s a complex operation that’ll continue over the coming hours, before being moved back to a depot. /1 pic.twitter.com/kXEEZZvM2y
— Network Rail Scotland (@NetworkRailSCOT) May 8, 2022
ScotRail is blaming a long-running industrial dispute for significant ongoing timetable alternations. “We are reliant on drivers working overtime – known as rest day working – because of delays to training new drivers caused by the pandemic”, says their statement. “Unfortunately, since the drivers’ union ASLEF announced its intention to recommend a ballot for strike action after receiving an offer of a 2.2 per cent pay increase, a significant number of drivers, but not all, have declined to make themselves available for overtime or rest day working.”