Highlands and Islands MSP and shadow business and tourism minister Jamie Halcro Johnston has said that strike action by the RMT union later this month threatens to leave people across the region cut off.
The strikes scheduled for 21, 23 and 25 June are expected to cause severe disruption to rail services, with Network Rail confirming that the industrial action is expected to cost the railway around £30 million per day.
Recently nationalised rail operator ScotRail has confirmed that they will be operating no trains north of the central belt on the strike days, and there is expected to be significant disruptions on other services on days around the strike.
Jamie Halcro Johnston MSP said:
“These strikes threaten to cut-off the north of Scotland at a time when we are already seeing reduced rail services hit our region hard.
“With confirmation from Scotrail that they will be running none of their services at all into or within the Highlands on the affected days, we are facing a real calamity in our transport network.
“This will severely disrupt the lives of those who use our railways to get to work, to travel or to reach vital appointments. And there is likely to be considerable knock-on disruption to services on the days around the strikes too.
“At the start of our key tourist season, this will have an enormous impact on the Highlands and on so many local businesses. And as I understand, there are currently no plans set out for rail replacement services in the region or for increasing capacity on other transport options.
“This action by the RMT is irresponsible, particularly in areas like ours where connectivity is so important and where travellers will be left with no other option but to drive, despite high fuel costs.
“While there will still be some services running across the Central Belt, the network in the Highlands and Islands will be shut down for 3 days and that is unacceptable.”