More late-night trains on track to show up for Festival
LATE-NIGHT rail services during the Edinburgh Festival were given a major boost today after a campaign by the event's organisers.
First ScotRail chiefs have revealed plans to lay on extra trains and boost carriage numbers this year in the wake of major overcrowding problems.
People attending the world's biggest arts festival in recent years have been served by just one extra shuttle service for Glasgow on a Friday and Saturday night outside the normal timetable.
Now the number of extra services on that line will be doubled, the Edinburgh-Glasgow line via Shotts will receive a late-night Festival service during the week for the first time and an extra service will be laid on serving stations to Stirling and Perth on every Sunday in August.
Travellers using lines apart from the main Edinburgh to Glasgow one have complained of overcrowding on regular services.
Festival chiefs hit out at the services available during the month-long event, saying potential Festival-goers are put off by the lack of late trains. First ScotRail managing director Mary Dickson was due to join forces with Culture Minister Patricia Ferguson and two performers from Scottish Ballet at Queen Street station this morning to promote the extra Festival services.
Ms Dickson said: "The Edinburgh festivals are growing in popularity each year, so we are delighted not only to be sponsoring one of the top performances of the Edinburgh International Festival, but also to be named the official public transport operator of the Festival.
"As part of our commitment to our customers we will be expanding on the previous late-night Festival services by increasing the number of additional trains, running extra trains on new routes and providing more capacity on many services, with a view to providing even more next year."
Ms Ferguson added: "I am delighted that through the expansion of these train services, communities across central Scotland will have increased access to such world-class experiences.
"The expansion of the late-night services is great news for Festival-goers and great news for Scotland's tourism industry.
"As it expands over this and next year it will provide many potential economic benefits, giving the areas surrounding the new late-night service routes the opportunity to benefit from tourists who will be able to travel to and from Edinburgh more easily."
A First ScotRail spokeswoman said the firm would be identifying around 200 services expected to be busy during the festivals season and adding extra carriages.
Particular attention would be paid to days with major events such as the Edinburgh Festivals Cavalcade and Fringe Sunday.
Ginnie Atkinson, managing director of the Edinburgh International Film Festival, said: "It's been obvious for years that a later train service is wholly desirable, not just for the obvious reasons, but because it chips away at the mythical wall between Glasgow and Edinburgh."
THE increased services from Edinburgh during the Festival have been a common cause for complaint by festival-goers for years.
The 12.30am service has left Waverley for Glasgow Queen Street over four Friday and Saturday nights during the festivals season for more than five years.
Last year, ScotRail agreed to boost carriage numbers on more than 100 services following complaints in 2003.
But transport provision was still found to be a major problem by festival chiefs.
Now the rail operator has responded to the criticism by laying on a midnight service, as well as the 12.30am one, every Friday and Saturday night from this weekend until September 3.
Search for a job
Search for a car
Search for a house
Weather for Edinburgh
Thursday 23 May 2013
Temperature: 5 C to 10 C
Wind Speed: 23 mph
Wind direction: North west
Temperature: 4 C to 13 C
Wind Speed: 17 mph
Wind direction: North east