RAIL passengers in Inverclyde will NOT benefit from a £370 million fleet of 70 new electric trains - despite claims to the contrary by Scotland's transport minister.
Humza Yousaf has had to backtrack on comments made in the Scottish Parliament last week that some of the Class 385 models currently being built will be deployed on the Gourock and Wemyss Bay lines when construction is completed.
The transport minister said the government is 'investing heavily in Class 385 trains for the Inverclyde routes' - but operators ScotRail say none of the new carriages will be in service locally.
It comes after the Tele revealed yesterday that the old Class 314 rolling stock - which were built in 1979 and have no heating, toilets or wireless internet - could remain in place until early 2019 due to delays with the delivery of the new trains.
They have been used locally since late 2016 and were scheduled to be withdrawn in May this year.
Mr Yousaf said: "Allocation of rolling stock across routes is a matter for the franchisee and the recent increase in usage of Class 314s is due to Abellio ScotRail utilising some Class 380 trains for training and familiarisation in preparedness for those trains to operate on the Edinburgh to Glasgow line.
"When sufficient new Class 385s are introduced both to maintain the present service capacity and to accommodate passenger growth this will then enable the phased replacement of all of the older Class 314 trains and also free up more Class 380 trains to run on Inverclyde routes in the future."
The transport minister confirmed the £370m fleet of 70 new trains, including 234 carriages, will be in use on services between Glasgow, Edinburgh and Falkirk.
Rail bosses say only a small amount of old Class 314s - described by passengers as 'uncomfortable, dirty and noisy' - are in operation in Inverclyde and that the majority of journeys are made on board newer Class 380 models.
Greenock & Inverclyde MSP Stuart McMillan said: "I've been disappointed these old Class 314 trains are being used locally but understand the training requirements for drivers that will be needed when the new fleet arrive from Hitachi.
"Unfortunately, due a delay in new trains being delivered to ScotRail, we are stuck with these Class 314s and no amount of complaining is going to change that.
"I would ask, however, that they are at least cleaned.
"Some of them have mould growing around the window seals and others look like they were last cleaned back in the 70s.
"I have again asked for these trains to be cleaned and will be meeting with ScotRail representatives in the coming weeks to discuss a number of issues relating to the train service in Inverclyde."