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Alcohol ban introduced on Scotland’s railway

Union welcomes decision to prohibit drinking and calls for members to wear body cameras

Simon Calder
Travel Correspondent
Saturday 14 November 2020 13:41 GMT
Open space: the message to rail travellers in Scotland during June
Open space: the message to rail travellers in Scotland during June (Simon Calder)

Rail passengers on trains and at stations in Scotland will not be able to consume alcohol from Monday onwards, in what the main train operator described as a “temporary measure”.

ScotRail announced: “The new measures will help to maintain the physical distancing required while travelling and will also support greater use of face coverings at all stages of the journey.

“The restrictions will be supported by the British Transport Police, who will assist railway staff where required to ensure that people follow the guidance.

“Body cameras will also be used by some frontline staff to help with the enforcement of the restrictions.”

At present drinking is banned on ScotRail trains between 9pm and 10am. There have been concerns that heavy drinking reduces adherence to measures designed to limit the spread of coronavirus.

ScotRail’s sustainability and safety assurance director, David Lister, said: “The introduction of these restrictions on alcohol will help to ensure that our staff and customers remain safe.

“We ask that everyone travelling on our trains, and passing through stations, play their part and comply with this clear guidance.

“Throughout the pandemic, our people have been working flat out to deliver a safe and reliable service for customers throughout the country.”

The move was welcomed by the RMT rail union. Mick Hogg, the regional organiser, said: “RMT welcome this ban on alcohol that will help to keep our staff and passengers safe.

“We are encouraging all of our members to wear body cameras which will help to keep everyone safe while these restrictions are in place.”

Last month Mr Hogg said the RMT had been calling for an alcohol ban for years to help protect staff.

LNER, which runs trains on the East Coast main line from several Scottish cities to London, has banned alcohol on its trains since April.

A spokesperson for the state-run operator said at the time: “To enable us to focus on assisting those for whom travel is essential and to support social distancing, customers are not currently permitted to bring alcoholic drinks onto our train services.”

No alcohol is sold aboard LNER trains.

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