THE First Minister says he is “apologetic” for disruption of rail services between North Berwick and Edinburgh Waverley after concerns were raised about a shortage of carriages during First Minister’s Questions.

South Scotland MSP Martin Whitfield raised the rail chaos experienced by local commuters earlier this week with First Minister Humza Yousaf.

The 7.53am train from North Berwick to Edinburgh Waverley on Monday and Tuesday this week ran with just three carriages, half the normal amount, resulting in overcrowding and some passengers unable to board at Musselburgh and Wallyford.

Regular users of services on the line have also reported that a reduced number of carriages is becoming more common, often leading to overcrowding and discomfort for passengers.

READ MORE: ScotRail sorry after county commuters left on platform this morning

Mr Whitfield asked a question about the issue at Thursday’s First Minister’s Questions.

The South Scotland MSP asked Mr Yousaf: “This week, rail commuters travelling between East Lothian and Edinburgh experienced the consequences of Scottish National Party mismanagement, with a reduction in carriage numbers on the trains during the busy morning commute and overcrowding.

“One of the commuters, Gregor Millar, said: ‘It’s uncomfortable, you have to stand and it becomes hard to hold onto anything. When I get on at Prestonpans you have to stand, when it gets to Wallyford people are just squeezing on, and at Musselburgh people can’t get on.’

“Given those ongoing issues, what assurances can the First Minister offer to Gregor Millar and other constituents that commuters who travel between East Lothian and Edinburgh can depend on a robust and reliable train service?”

READ MORE: East Lothian commuters left stranded at station after more rail issues

In response, Mr Yousaf said: “I do not at all minimise the impact that rail disruption can have on constituents and their everyday lives, when they are going to work and attending their educational establishments.

“I say to Martin Whitfield’s constituent that we are investing in our rail services. We have invested in our rail infrastructure, in new rail lines on the Borders railway, in new railway stations throughout the country, and in making our railways more affordable by, for example, introducing a pilot that abolished peak fares.

“We are, of course, apologetic for any disruption that has been caused on our rail infrastructure, and I am more than happy to ensure that the appropriate minister writes to him with the details of the investments that we are making not just between East Lothian and Edinburgh but throughout the country.”

Speaking after his question, Mr Whitfield said: “Improving local rail services is an issue on which I have campaigned ever since I was first elected to represent people in East Lothian.

“While there have undoubtedly been some improvements over recent years, the reported chaos faced by commuters in the last few days was reminiscent of the frequent cancellations and overcrowding experienced on this line in the past.

"I don’t want to see these rail problems become a regular occurrence again. That is why I moved quickly to raise the issue with the First Minister in the Chamber and have also written to the Transport Minister and ScotRail.”