LOCAL rail passengers are being shortchanged by the use of old trains on Inverclyde routes, says an MSP from Greenock.

Conservative Jamie Greene says the 40-year-old Class 314 carriages currently being used on the Gourock and Wemyss Bay lines are unacceptable.

He spoke out after the Tele revealed that passengers could have to put up with the trains, which have no heating or toilets, for another year.

The West of Scotland MSP will now raise the matter with transport minister Humza Yousaf, who he has urged to ‘get a grip’ of the situation.

Mr Greene said: “Passengers simply deserve better.

“I’ll be raising this issue with the transport minister in my next meeting with him.

“He really needs to get a grip of the situation.”

The old rolling stock was brought in at the end of 2016 to replace some of the modern Class 380 models after they were re-routed to Edinburgh for driver training ahead of the delivery of a £370 million fleet of 70 new electric trains.

Inverclyde was the only area in Scotland to have carriages swapped.

But the delivery of the new electric Class 385s — which will not be deployed locally — has been delayed, meaning that the old trains could remain on the Gourock and Wemyss Bay lines until early 2019.

Mr Greene, who is Holyrood’s shadow transport minister, said: “Inverclyde residents will be dismayed to learn that these ancient carriages will remain on our lines for another year.

“Local people already have to endure challenging weather conditions affecting services, and we have had a fairly harsh winter this year too.

“It is worth bearing in mind that this publicly subsidised rail service has failed to meet its performance targets for over six months.

“We were told that these carriages would only be in operation for a short while, but now it’s becoming clear that we might be stuck with them for at least 12 months.

“All the new carriages are going on the Glasgow to Edinburgh line and, as usual, commuters elsewhere in Scotland are left behind when it comes to upgrades.”

The old trains were built in 1979 and have no heating, toilets or wireless internet.

Passengers have complained that they are uncomfortable, dirty, mouldy and that the windows are not wind and watertight.

Transport minister Mr Yousaf, pictured above, says 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.

He said: “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.”