Scotrail vans to boost West Highland Line stations

Scotrail vans to boost West Highland Line stations

ScotRail has unveiled a specially-equipped van to help its roving maintenance teams carry out their work at West Highland Line stations.

The all-wheel-drive van was delivered to ScotRail staff at Oban.

The customised Ford Transit has been kitted out with snow and leaf blowers, trailers, large robust shovels and hand-held de-icing material spreaders to help enhance access, mainly at unstaffed and part-time staffed West Highland stations.

It also features a mini-kitchen, with a hot water supply, microwave and sink, to sustain staff working during bad weather, in remote locations and at night.

Ewan Macdonald, ScotRail’s facilities manager for Highland & North, said the upgraded van would directly benefit customers – particularly during times of severe wind, rain or prolonged freezing temperatures.

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Mr Macdonald said: “The all-wheel-drive van will help our roving station maintenance teams resolve any access issues at platforms, walkways and car parks at unstaffed West Highland stations.

“It forms part of our ongoing efforts to be better prepared whenever extreme weather hits the region.”

The van will serve unmanned stations including Connel Ferry, Taynuilt, Falls of Cruachan, Loch Awe, Upper Tyndrum, Dalmally and others.

A total of 27 vans are being phased in across the country to replace ScotRail’s previous fleet of 19 vans - representing a 42% increase in capacity.

Michael Russell, MSP for Argyll and Bute, said: “ScotRail have recognised that local action and local resilience is going to give their customers the best service when the weather is bad.

”So I commend their initiative in introducing these new locally focussed services which will help travellers at some of the remotest and most exposed stations anywhere on the network.”

Dedicated teams of two to four staff will alternate shifts to provide cover for 15 hours a day – or longer.

The cost of leasing the vans is in addition to the £2million ScotRail recently invested to better prepare for severe weather.