A PETITION calling for the removal of controversial old trains from the Inverclyde lines is gathering steam.

Gourock man Alan Holliday, who was a Labour candidate at last year’s council election, has launched a campaign calling on operators ScotRail and transport minister Humza Yousaf to withdraw the near 40-year-old Class 314s from local routes and bring back more modern carriages.

The trains, which were built in 1979, have been in use on the Gourock and Wemyss Bay lines since late 2016 but they lack heating, have no toilets or wireless internet and passengers say they are ‘dirty and noisy’.

Inverclyde is the only area in Scotland where rolling stock was replaced and the Telegraph recently revealed the old trains could remain in service here until 2019.

Mr Holliday, who is Inverclyde Labour’s campaigns officer, travels daily from Gourock to Glasgow Central for work.

A yearly ticket costs nearly £1,800 and he says the old trains are nowhere near value for money.

Over 300 people have already signed his online petition.

Mr Holliday said: “I’m really pleased with the public’s reaction and what it shows is that this clearly is a real, local issue resonating with a big number of people.

“The service itself is reliable enough but the age and condition of these older trains is unacceptable.

“The modern trains have everything you would expect but the 314s have nothing and it feels like you’re on a bone-shaker on them.

“We want the modern trains returned here and for the people of Inverclyde to get the service they deserve.”

A full fleet of modern Class 380 trains was in place locally but some had to be withdrawn and diverted to Edinburgh for driver training ahead of the delivery of a £370 million fleet of 70 electric trains.

Delays with the new stock mean the old 314s, which were due to be removed in May this year, look set to stay for longer. A ScotRail Alliance spokesperson: “The majority of services between Glasgow and Inverclyde are operated by modern Class 380 trains.

“The use of Class 314 trains on this route remains a temporary measure, and they will be withdrawn from the ScotRail network as soon as we are in a position to do so.”

There is still no indication as to when the new stock will be delivered to allow for the old carriages to be removed.

A Transport Scotland spokeswoman said: “Ministers understand the frustration felt by passengers as they await the roll-out of better rolling-stock and have been quite clear they want to see this happen sooner rather than later.

“When sufficient new C385s are introduced, both to maintain the present service capacity and to accommodate passenger growth, the phased replacement of all older C314 trains will take place and more C380 trains will be freed up to return to Inverclyde.”

To sign the petition visit www.you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/return-new-trains-to-inverclyde-and-give-commuters-the-service-we-pay-for