DUMBARTON and the Vale’s hard-pressed rail commuters should be given an early Christmas gift of half-price travel to compensate for ScotRail’s poor service, according to the town’s MSP.

Jackie Baillie has called on ScotRail to make the move as compensation for an “unacceptable” number of delayed and cancelled trains.

Over-running engineering work, caused by the replacement of a railway bridge in Dumbarton, on October 22 kicked off nine consecutive days of disruption, according to the MSP.

Ms Baillie said: “Explaining to your employer that you were late because your train was cancelled or delayed is believable once or twice, but nine days in a row stretches the credibility.

“When the trains do arrive there are three carriages instead of six and commuters get squeezed in like sardines because there’s standing room only.”

Ms Baillie also says the franchise agreement with Dutch firm Abellio should end if performance doesn’t improve in the next few weeks.

A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: “Ministers know performance isn’t where it should be. Abellio ScotRail are held to account but Network Rail infrastructure issues are negatively impacting performance.

“While ScotRail performance has remained consistently ahead of the GB average, that GB average has got steadily worse since Network Rail moved timetable planning for Scotland to its Milton Keynes HQ in 2012.

“These essential railway functions must be devolved back to Scotland to allow any franchise operator to perform at its best.”

ScotRail Alliance managing director Alex Hynes said: “The performance of the infrastructure hasn’t been good enough in recent months and I am sorry to customers for the impact this has had on them.

“We are doing everything we can to deliver the more punctual service that our customers deserve.”

Scotrail’s Delay Repay Guarantee provides compensation to customers who’ve been delayed by 30 minutes or more.

To claim, customers just need to keep hold of their ticket and apply on their website or mobile app.

Visit scotrail.co.uk/delay-repay for details.