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ScotRail makes an essential contribution to the education conference scene, when the trains run. But services played havoc with two conferences last week.

The Advisory Scottish Council on Education and Training Targets found its Edinburgh event on the tiger economies of the Far East beset by the effects of recent gales. Falkirk station could have staged its own rival seminar, such was the quality of stranded participants heading for Edinburgh.

There was, however, no act of God to blame for interference with Professor Sally Brown. Organisers of the "Aberdeen: A City for Learning" conference were becoming distinctly edgy as she failed to show for her lecturing spot.

It appeared that a freight train was blocking the line. She eventually arrived, looking as though the passengers had been forced to provide the necessary shove themselves. You have been warned.

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