SCOTRAIL has issued an apology to Clacks commuters, following a series of frustration service cancellations over the last week or so.

A number of trains from Alloa have been put off due to a "lack of train crew", which officials claim is a result of staff being trained ahead of the new timetable change, which comes into force on Sunday.

Rail chiefs have come under sustained fire for the cancellations, prompting concerns that the new electric trains, due to start running on Sunday, December 9, will not be sufficiently staffed.

ScotRail, however, have hit back at criticism, saying that much of the disruption caused is down to making sure there are no issues with the new electric trains.

A spokesperson said: "We're sorry to our customers who have experienced disruption to their journey.

"The majority of the impact is a result of our final push to deliver the December timetable improvements which will bring faster journeys, more seats, and more services for our customers."

It comes as rail customers were hit with another huge blow that fares will go up in the new year, with the average fare rising by up to 2.8 per cent.

The cost of peak-time season tickets and anytime day tickets in Scotland will rise by 3.2 per cent from January 2, while off-peak and off-peak day tickets will increase by 2.2 per cent.

The spokesperson continued: "Eighty-five per cent of our revenue comes from fares set by the Scottish Government, which decides how much our customers pay.

"We are investing millions of pounds to build the best railway Scotland has ever had.

"The introduction of brand new electric trains, and the first of our upgraded InterCity trains connecting Scotland's seven cities, means customers benefit from more comfortable journeys.”

The misery for passengers didn’t stop there, however, as it was announced on Monday that the highly popular “kids go free” initiative was being scrapped by bosses.

Instead, a new scheme will be introduced called Kids for a Quid, meaning children will now be able to travel for £1 rather than nothing.

However, unlike the previous scheme which allowed two children free per one adult, four children will now be able to travel with one adult and qualify.

The kids ticket will still allow free entry into a number of attractions, such as The Scottish Football Museum and the Wallace Monument.

The spokesperson added: “We are committed to providing our customers with the opportunity to travel across our services and the Kids for a Quid offer is available on a wider range of adult tickets.

“This provides families with the opportunity to travel throughout the country, and take advantage of free entry to the many attractions that we have been able to secure.”

Passengers were being urged to keep checking the travel checker from Sunday as the new timetable comes into force.