SEASON ticket holders on the North Berwick railway line are being offered free travel as an apology for what ScotRail described as "unacceptable service" in recent weeks.

The Haymarket to North Berwick line is one of those whose season ticket holders qualify for the special compensation as a result of it being one of the worst affected by recent train crew shortages.

As an apology, ScotRail is offering season ticket holders free travel on six specified weekends in the spring.

There is no need for season ticket holders to apply for the offer.

A statement on ScotRail's website from Alex Hynes, managing director of ScotRail Alliance, said: "We are very sorry to ScotRail customers for our unacceptable service in parts of the country recently.

"While our teams work hard every day to deliver the service you demand, the reality is that we’ve fallen below the standard you expect and deserve.

"While it doesn’t excuse what has happened, here are the challenges we have faced:

  • "Daily services have had to be cancelled to allow our drivers and conductors to be trained on new trains and new routes before they can operate services safely;
  • "The late delivery of trains by suppliers, including Hitachi and Wabtec, means there has been very limited time available for driver and conductor training;
  • "An overtime and rest day working ban, now resolved, by the RMT trade union made the training problems worse.

"We are working flat out to train conductors and drivers on Scotland’s railway so that we can return services to normal.

"Since December 9 we have trained 70 drivers and conductors, so we have made progress, but we know we need to do more.

"We are training more than 20 drivers and conductors every day throughout January and February to return your service to levels you deserve.

"We have seen the level of cancellations reduce steadily over the last few weeks. We will continue to cut cancellations to improve your service. We expect week on week improvement through January and February to get your service back to normal levels.

"If you are delayed by more than 30 minutes, you are already entitled to compensation through our Delay Repay Guarantee.

"We are also offering those season ticket holders most affected by cancellations, caused by train crew shortages, extra compensation.

"This is a goodwill gesture to say sorry to our most loyal customers, and to thank them for their patience.

"Season ticket holders, accompanied by one extra person, on routes most affected by train crew shortages are being offered travel anywhere on ScotRail services for six specified weekends in March, April and May 2019.

"The offer weekends are: Saturday 23 and Sunday 24 March; Saturday 30 and Sunday 31 March; Saturday 6 and Sunday 7 April; Saturday 13 and Sunday 14 April; Saturday 27 and Sunday 28 April; Saturday 11 and Sunday 12 May 2019.

"We know you deserve better. The entire ScotRail Alliance - a partnership between ScotRail and Network Rail Scotland - is focused on delivering that and we will give you a better service."

More information is available here.