Points failures, maintenance issues and train faults were blamed by ScotRail yesterday as rail passengers endured a day of frustration.

Services were disrupted between Glasgow and Edinburgh, after signals failed between Haymarket and Edinburgh Waverley, with trains cancelled and reduced to half-hourly for most of the day when lines reopened following repairs.

The company also blamed the same signalling and points failures for severe disruption and cancellations on the Borders Railway and the Edinburgh to Aberdeen service, while signalling problems and "maintenance requirements" were blamed for shortened trains on services between Edinburgh and Stirling and Dunblane.

Disruptions on the Fife circle were blamed variously on a shortage of train crew, unfinished maintenance work and the Edinburgh signalling fault.

A separate signal failure in Rutherglen was blamed for cancellations on the Glasgow to Helensburgh service, with passengers advised to take local buses instead. Trains between Helensburgh and Edinburgh were stopped at Bathgate and passengers transferred to a replacement bus service.

Scotrail said the points failures had been due to the cold weather, but angry passengers –many attempting to return to work after Christmas – were unimpressed.

Trains made up of reduced numbers of carriages led to complaints of overcrowding on services south from Aberdeen, while passengers also complained about trains skipping scheduled stops, being abandoned on cold platforms or in unheated trains, often with limited or no information about what was happening.

Jake Muir, who was attempting to travel from Saltcoats to Dumbarton yesterday said when he reached Glasgow onward low level trains were being cancelled.

"I was told the trains in Queen Street were fine and to head there," he said. "When I arrived, there were only slight delays of 5 minutes, which grew to 10 minutes, then “delayed”... which grew to “cancelled” again".

Underground platforms at Glasgow Queen Street were packed with stranded passengers, Mr Muir said.

Eventually it was announced that a train to Helensburgh would depart calling at all stops, he added. "When we arrived in Dalmuir, the conductor announced the train would only now be going to Helensburgh and we could get off or stay on for Helensburgh only.

"Three quarters of the train got off at Dalmuir, but people didn't know what to do or where to go. Scotrail didn't provide a solution, or refunds, buses or even an apology.

"Just “get off or stay on.” I felt terrible for many of the elderly passengers in the cold."

A ScotRail Alliance spokesman said: “Due to multiple points failures caused by very low temperatures, a number of services to and from Edinburgh are facing delays, cancellations, or alterations. We know how frustrating this is for our customers, and we apologise for the impact this has on their day. Engineers are working flat out to fix this problem.

“Customers delayed by 30 minutes or more are entitled to compensation by visiting our website.”