THOUSANDS of train services in Inverclyde last year were either cancelled, late or failed to meet key performance metrics according to latest figures. 

New data obtained from ScotRail under freedom of information laws shows that some form of disruption was recorded on at least one service on the Gourock to Glasgow line on 199 days last year, with a delay recorded on the Wemyss Bay to Glasgow line on 141 days.

Of the 23,300 services which ran along the Gourock to Glasgow line in 2023/24, 327 were either partly or fully cancelled, with 730 running more than five minutes late.

A further 1,057 failed to meet the Public Performance Measure (PPM), a standard rail industry measurement used to evaluate performance of services by combining data relating to punctuality and reliability.

Along the Wemyss Bay to Glasgow line, 600 journeys failed to meet the PPM, while 365 ran more than five minutes late and 235 were partly or fully cancelled.

READ MORE: ScotRail to launch new timetable for Gourock and Wemyss Bay lines

ScotRail has today defended its performance, saying that delayed or cancelled services made up a small proportion of the 35,800 services it ran across the two local lines last year.

Over 3,000 trains in Inverclyde have been fully cancelled since 2017/18, with almost 2,000 being related to infrastructure and a further 521 incidents fleet-related.

Between 2022/23 and 2023/24, the number of train services running more than five minutes late, failing PPMs or being fully cancelled fell on both local lines.

The number of partially cancelled services was down along the Gourock line compared to the year before but rose on the Wemyss Bay line from 60 to 102.

In response to the figures, Gourock councillor Martin McCluskey, who has campaigned for more reliable rail services locally, told the Telegraph that he hoped the rollout of ScotRail’s new timetable in June would help improve local services.

Greenock Telegraph: Martin McCluskey has been elected as a councillor for Gourock

He said: "This data shows the issues with reliability on the Gourock and Wemyss Bay lines, which ScotRail have acknowledged previously.

“The new timetable which will be in place from June will be a welcome step forward for rail services in Inverclyde, hopefully improving reliability and speed.

“ScotRail have promised me that they will continue to keep a close eye on the Inverclyde lines, to keep on top of any reliability issues if they emerge after the timetable changes.

“ScotRail have also told me about how reliability has been affected by driver shortages. With hundreds of new drivers set to be trained by ScotRail over the coming years, this should also lead to improvements.

"My priority has always been to secure fast and reliable services between Inverclyde and Glasgow, to help people who commute or who want to head to Glasgow or Renfrewshire for a night out.

“I’m glad that action is being taken to make that happen.”

Inverclyde MSP Stuart McMillan, who has also campaigned for improvements to local services, highlighted the range of external factors that could affect rail reliability.

He added: “The reasons for train services being delayed or cancelled can be varied. Adverse weather, flooding, a passenger taking unwell, a person or animal on the tracks, and even vehicles damaging rail bridges – which is an issue passengers have frequently experienced locally, particularly at the Sinclair Street bridge at Cappielow.

“Without knowing what the causes are for each and every delay or cancellation, it’s unreasonable to wholly blame ScotRail or Network Rail for these figures as there are many external factors that impact the reliability of our rail service.

Greenock Telegraph: Stuart McMillan

He added: “I’m sure everyone who uses public transport accept there will be incidences when our travel might be delayed or cancelled due to factors that are out with operators’ control.

“There are, of course, investments that can be made to improve the resilience of the network to better deal with the likes of adverse weather, which is the responsibility of Network Rail.

“This work has been ongoing and will no doubt continue given Scotland can anticipate more flooding events in the future as the climate crisis continues to hit closer to home.”

Mark Ilderton, ScotRail service delivery director, said: “In 2023/24, we operated a total of 23,300 services on the Gourock line, and a further 12,500 on the Wemyss Bay line. This means that part or full cancellations represented just 1.6 per cent of all services for the year.

“But we know that trains running on time is one of the most important factors for people travelling across the country, and we continue to work hard to improve those numbers even further.

 “ScotRail will continue to keep a firm focus on performance and deliver the best possible service to our customers.”