ScotRail admits 'no timeframe set' for return of alcohol on services

Alcohol has been banned on all ScotRail trains since November 2020 under Covid restrictions.

ScotRail to keep alcohol ban ‘under review’ with no plans in place for return of ‘wet trains’ iStock
ScotRail services have been operated on a 'dry' basis since November 2020.

Scotland’s national rail operator says it has “no plans” to reverse a Covid-enforced ban on consuming alcohol aboard services – despite government restrictions being effectively lifted last month.

ScotRail announced proposals to prohibit the sale of alcohol in all stations from November 2020 in response to “extremely drunk passengers” showing “complete disregard” towards a range of measures designed to halt the spread of the disease

However the newly-public firm currently has no intention repealing the “temporary” rule more than three weeks on from coronavirus laws being converted to guidance by the Scottish Government.

It comes just days after SNP MP Mhairi Black was forced to apologise when footage of her drinking from a can on a service between Ayr and Glasgow Central emerged on social media.

The alcohol ban was extended when the franchise was taken into public ownership on April 1, although rail bosses say they are keeping the decision “under review”.

In a statement at the time, ScotRail said passengers who were “extremely drunk, or acting in a disorderly manner, showed complete disregard towards Covid-19 precautions such as wearing a mask and keeping a physical distance from others.”

Under the rules, no alcohol can be drunk “at any station in Scotland or on board any ScotRail train at any time of day.”

Visible alcohol, in either an opened or unopened state, is also forbidden, the byelaws state.

Legal requirements to wear face coverings in retail settings, hospitality venues and on public transport services came to an end on April 18, however Scottish Government advice still “strongly advises” the wearing of masks.

The sale and consumption of alcohol is permitted on most UK rail franchises, however operators are free to run “dry trains” in certain situations.

A ScotRail spokesperson said there was “no timeframe” for the ban to remain in place, adding the decision was being “monitored”

They added: “The alcohol ban remains in place on trains, and at our stations.”