The man at the helm of ScotRail has issued a staunch defence about the age of train used by the firm, insisting passengers “don’t care how old their trains are”.
Alex Hynes, managing director of ScotRail Alliance, said the public just wanted services to be comfortable and reliable, while admitting some of the fleet set to be introduced by the organisation were up to 40-years-old.
Speaking at a fringe event on Scotland's railways at the SNP's autumn conference in Glasgow, he launched his defence when asked about the age of trains and claimed many competitors would love to boast similar performance and customer satisfaction scores.
Responding to a question, Hynes said: “The carriages themselves are up to 40-years-old but there is not much left on them that are up to 40-years-old. It’s a bit like an airliner, where you change every component. They have been thoroughly refurbished. Customers don’t care how old their trains are, they care is it comfortable and reliable.”
A member of public attending the event accused ScotRail of forgetting about services in more remote Highland locations like Aviemore and Inverness, where the rolling stock was described as "appalling".
But the boss refuted the allegation and pointed out that 26 refurbished high-speed intercity trains ScotRail is bringing in between Scotland’s cities, including Inverness, will improve connections and was adamant the fleet was "fantastic" and that customers will "love" them.
The managing director also defended the rail operator’s punctuality record by arguing ScotRail was the “most punctual large operator in the UK”. Hynes pointed the finger at Network Rail for 60% of punctuality failures with failures in the network as the reason, which is maintained and monitored by the organisation.