SCOTRAIL  bosses who laid on a huge train to shuttle Disney cruise passengers directly from Greenock to Edinburgh stand accused of leaving Inverclyde with a "Mickey Mouse" service.

Local people - who have been left with a reduced timetable along the Gourock to Glasgow line for months - were left stunned when the publicly-owned operator had a six-carriage train roll in to Greenock Central for tourists. 

Gourock Labour councillor Martin McCluskey slammed the decision to run the extra service for Disney Dream passengers.

The National:

He told the Greenock Telegraph: “Disney Cruise passengers have been offered direct trains from Greenock to Edinburgh, but local people have been left with a Mickey Mouse service by ScotRail.

“This is beyond a joke.

“We were promised a consultation on a new and improved timetable and we are still waiting.

“ScotRail says that they offer services to meet demand, but anytime there’s a big event in Glasgow - like the football on Tuesday night - people who live in Inverclyde have to put up with overcrowded, infrequent services.

“In living memory there hasn’t been a direct ScotRail service from Greenock to Edinburgh."

Angry locals also contacted the Greenock Telegraph to express their shock at the ScotRail decision.

The National: Disney Dream

One regular rail passenger, who did not want to be named, said: “We’re seeing the red carpet get rolled out for the tourists off a cruise ship while folk who live and work around here get nothing.

“It’s all well and good to say things like this will boost tourism into the area, but what does it matter if they won’t stay locally and spend their money here?

"Taking them out of town is ridiculous."

Another train commuter said: “We’ve had this big investment into the area but all it’s doing is making us a slightly nicer pit stop for these people before they head off to Edinburgh or Glasgow.

“And then finding out that ScotRail can actually run more services when they feel like it is a bit of a slap in the face to the people who have been putting up with the reduced timetable these last few months."

ScotRail announced earlier this year that it was axing several off-peak, limited stop "fast" train services along the Gourock to Glasgow line.

The recently nationalised firm said the move was an interim measure as part of its recovery from the impact the pandemic had on driver training.

The company has stated that it will soon share its plans for future timetables in Inverclyde, which it believes will help grow passenger numbers.

The National:

In response to the concerns raised about the decision to run an additional service for cruise ship passengers, Phil Campbell, ScotRail Customer Operations Director, said: “ScotRail is committed to supporting tourism and helping Scotland’s economy grow.

“Where possible, we’ll look to provide additional services, or extra carriages, when large scale events take place.

“It’s the right thing to do to support travel, and it ensures seats remain available for our regular customers.

“We’ll be sharing our timetable plans for Inverclyde with customers and stakeholders soon, and we look forward to hearing their views on our proposals.

“In the interim, our priority is to provide communities served by Gourock to Glasgow trains with a reliable half hourly daytime service, which has additional fast services at peak times.”