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Scotrail install huge heated tunnels in bid to keep trains moving this winter


Scotrail install huge heated tunnels in bid to keep trains moving this winter


TWO huge polytunnels - traditionally used to protect young fruit and vegetable crops - have been erected at Scotrail's main Glasgow depot in a bid to keep trains running this winter.

The heated tunnels, together with a series of power showers, have been installed at the Eastfield depot in case snow and ice grips Scotland again this winter.

Scotrail said the £2 million pound investment - similar features have been installed in Perth - will help keep more trains running and enhance station access.

The 'polytunnels' will be used for de-icing trains in enclosed heated tunnels while power shower systems have also been installed at all maintenance depots to remove snow and ice from the undersides of trains.

ScotRail managing director Steve Montgomery said: "If we have the same experience as last winter with the the extreme low temperatures and high levels of snow it's inevitable that there will be forms of disruption.

"What we're saying this year is if that disruption happens we should be able to handle it better through better communication, temporary timetables and bringing trains into locations where they can be defrosted and back out into service again."

After the severe weather of last winter ScotRail refunded thousands of pounds worth of tickets due to cancellations.

The operator decided to disregard its policy of refusing refunds for disruptions outwith its control, such as extreme weather, as "a gesture of goodwill" to stranded customers.

Heavy snow and sub-zero temperatures caused major travel disruption across the country last year with roads brought to a stand-still.

ScotRail have also been hosting roadshow events at train stations this year to make customers aware of the measures they are taking.

Mr Montgomery added: "We've already carried out 33 roadshows where we went to stations and supermarket areas to get the message out to people.

"Providing people with the contact areas where they can contact us, at our website they can sign up for journey alerts, and that will make people more aware of what is happening and so they don't make the trip to the station and then don't understand why their train is cancelled.

"We hope it doesn't happen, we are clearly wishing for a mild winter this year but we are putting a lot of investment in to make sure that it is better handled than last year, should it happen."

Transport Minister Keith Brown said: "Thinking ahead and being prepared for winter at home, on transport networks and within local communities is something everyone can do easily.

"By keeping trains moving and providing better information, the rail industry can minimise disruption while getting people on the move as quickly as possible when it does occur."

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