AN elderly man needed oxygen as he was stretchered off a commuter train bursting at the seams because of the Forth Road Bridge closure.
Passengers claimed the man fainted as a direct result of conditions on the three-carriage train taking commuters from Fife to Edinburgh.
Witnesses spoke of unbearable heat aboard the train and many took off coats and jackets despite the December chill. Some were forced to sit on tables.
The drama happened at 7.50am near South Gyle in Edinburgh.
Commuter Tom Freeman tweeted: “ScotRail put three carriages on a busy commuter train from Fife. Now someone is being carried off the train on a stretcher. #FRB. Honestly, ScotRail, that is shameful. Lack of rolling stock is dangerous.”
He had earlier tweeted: “Only three carriages again on the 7.10. What a joke. After Inverkeithing into serious territory. Pressed against doors.”
Kenny Murray, 24, from Rosyth, Fife, was on the same train.
He said: “The man was in the back carriage and was just stood there squashed before he fainted and was just lying on the floor.
“Everyone was up in arms over it and outraged blaming the overcrowding and saying there were usually six carriages and even then they were usually packed during this time too.
“We were stopped for 25 minutes before he was taken off on a wheely stretcher.”
Kenny added: “It was really packed so people were even sitting on tables, there was literally no room to move.
“People were trying to take their coats and scarves off as it was so hot in there but because everyone was squeezed so tight they were struggling for space to even do it.
“I couldn’t even reach my arms up to open a newspaper, we were squeezed in that tight.”
Scotrail has been holding urgent talks with English operators to help find spare carriages and trains to help travelers facing disruptions to their journeys.
Britain’s largest specialist transport union, the RMT, warned last week that the crisis had exposed “a severe shortage of capacity” and a chronic lack of spare trains in Scotland.
RMT leader Mick Cash said: “It is a ludicrous state of affairs when the main rail service is tipped into complete meltdown because of passengers seeking an alternative way of completing their journey.”
A spokeswoman for ScotRail said: “A passenger took ill and was treated by the ambulance service within a matter of minutes.
“We thank our customers for their understanding and patience, and they may be able to make a claim under our Delay Repay Guarantee.”