Haymarket tram restrictions kicked into touch

The taxi rank is being reopened to ease congestion around Haymarket. Picture: Ian Georgeson
The taxi rank is being reopened to ease congestion around Haymarket. Picture: Ian Georgeson
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TRAM works have been temporarily moved to allow taxis to queue outside the main entrance to Haymarket station in a bid to ease congestion for rugby fans.

Contractors last night moved barriers and equipment to allow cabs to drop off and pick up passengers on Clifton Terrace, just metres from the station’s entrance.

The measures will remain in place until Monday morning as ScotRail committed to adding extra carriages to more than 130 trains today to help the 67,000 fans travelling to and from Scotland’s sold-out Six Nations game against Wales.

Central Taxis director Tony Kenmuir welcomed the decision to reinstate the taxi rank for this weekend.

He said: “Around the West End there’s going to be a massive pressure on travel, particularly when everyone comes pouring out of Murrayfield.

“At least we’ve got a concession for the weekend. That particular pressure point at the minute is one of the most difficult ones we’ve come across since the trams caper started.”

ScotRail has advised fans to buy tickets in advance and consider travelling home an hour or so later, with long queues expected after the final whistle.

Commercial director Sean Duffy said: “We’ll have 50 extra staff on the ground, with the vast majority of these at Haymarket. Their key priority is to ensure the queueing system runs safely and smoothly, and to provide information for fans.

“This is even more important at the moment due to the tram and station construction work, which narrows access to and within the station. Safety is crucial, so we have to limit the number of people on platforms at any one time.”

Forum of Scottish Rugby Supporters member Neil Hunter warned spectators travelling to Murrayfield by rail to still be prepared for the worst.

He said: “There seems to be no cohesion between doing these kinds of projects and when huge numbers of people are going to turn up. When you move tens of thousands of supporters around and there’s one bottleneck or problem, it’s going to be an enormous challenge.”

The city council said the crossing outside St John’s Church on Lothian Road would be reopened this weekend to allow for the expected increase in pedestrian traffic.

A statement said: “Traffic is likely to be busy at the West End of the city centre, so those travelling to the match by car are advised to plan their journey accordingly.”

Parts of Russell Road, Saughton Loan, Haymarket Terrace, West Approach Road, Westfield Road and Murrayfield Road will be closed before, during and immediately after the match.

Roseburn Street, West Coates, Riversdale Bridge and Roseburn Terrace will be shut completely.