Scotrail predictions didn’t add up

Wednesday 7th of October 2015. Rail commuters suffer long delays following a controlled explosion in North Queensferry which has suspended all train services over the Forth Bridge.
Wednesday 7th of October 2015. Rail commuters suffer long delays following a controlled explosion in North Queensferry which has suspended all train services over the Forth Bridge.

The prediction by Scotrail for the number of passengers using the Borders railway was about half of what has actually happened.

That’s why there has been problems caused by not having enough carriages – and the extra ones have been pinched from other lines.

Once the early and welcome popularity has settled, let’s see how the numbers pan out. Additionally, the steam train – though great stuff – did cause delays to the regular timetable, but now that trial run has ended and let’s see if that early issue of overcrowding disappears.

Please let me know your travel problems as I can take them straight to Scotrail.

I also have breaking news. I met the MD of Scotrail recently and he told me there will be a prize for the 250,000th, 500,000th and millionth passengers. I tried to prise (no pun intended) further information out of him – but to no avail.

Halloween

I’m a bit of a stickler for Scottish traditions and so I’m no fan of “Trick or Treat”, wholly imported from the U S of A.

I will give way to pumpkins instead of neeps, just because they were so hard to carve. It used to take me a few attempts to get it right. Then there was the aroma of the candle burning into turnip flesh. Ah – brings it all back to me.

But we’re even moving on from real pumpkins to plastic with built-in lights! I give in.

Budgets

This is a bit of advanced warning because in the coming months the Scottish Government will be handed its budget from Westminster.

As you know, this is a fixed amount and cannot be overspent – our Cabinet Secretary for Finance has to balance the books. No bad thing, you quite rightly say, but it comes at a cost to public service which, of course, is what the Scottish Parliament funds.

Some 85%-plus of the cost of services – health, justice, education and so on – is fixed costs.

For example, in the health service in the Borders, it goes towards salaries, pension contributions, upkeep of hospitals, utilities such as gas and electricity and so on. No one wants a reduction in nurses, ambulances or police for that matter, but somehow savings will have to be made.

Add to that the money the Scottish Government has put towards preventing folk having to pay up or get out because of the Bedroom Tax running into millions, cash that could be spent other than mitigating crude Westminster decisions, and there are tough times ahead.

Folk say to me when I raise this that this is the “there’s no money” excuse. It’s nae excuse, I’m afraid, but a fact.

Leaves

My acer drummondii is busy casting its copious leaves into every nook and cranny.

Paths, shrubs, pavement and nearby cars carry the leaves far and beyond.

Now talking of leaves, do you remember apologies for train delays elsewhere due to “the wrong type of leaves on the line?”

It seems that this is not a myth – in fact this is far more troublesome than snow. If this does happen – and fingers crossed it doesn’t – two things to remember: at least we have trains to be cancelled and these are not the leaves of my acer drummondii!