IT is perhaps not the first time that the performance of Scotland’s train operator has been described as honking.
But ScotRail management have finally revealed the reason why the inaugural journey of its refurbished InterCity 125 fleet broke down – the driver tooted the train’s horn too much.
The bizarre episode occurred while the train, packed with VIPs and journalists, was heading from Aberdeen to Edinburgh. The driver pressed the train’s air horn for too long which then created an air leak.
This in turn knocked out some of the train’s vital functions and resulted in a 30-minute delay near Ladybank in Fife.
One rail industry insider said: “It is like something from an episode of Thomas the Tank Engine, very embarrassing and part of the problem of using 40-year-old trains”.
The special trip had been organised to show off the first of a delayed fleet of 26 refurbished carriages.
The age of the trains has been slammed by critics but ScotRail argues that there will be more seats, more space for luggage, more plug sockets and a greater choice of food and drink.
Journey times between Aberdeen and Edinburgh will also be cut by 10 minutes.
However, the maiden voyage’s technical problems meant it was 30 minutes late arriving into Edinburgh.
The embarrassment came just days after ScotRail had to withdraw its new fleet of electric trains from service as a “precaution” over defective brakes.
Scottish Labour transport spokesman Colin Smyth said: “Many passengers think ScotRail is full of hot air, now it looks like their trains don’t have enough of it.”
A ScotRail spokesman confirmed the maiden voyage on October 10 was delayed due to an “air leak related to the horn”.
He added: “We experienced a short delay as a result of a technical issue, but the train was on the move again quickly.”
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