Rail travellers warned that shake-up will cause delays
PASSENGERS were today warned to leave more time for catching their trains as a major shake-up of rail services in and out of Edinburgh gets underway.
From tomorrow, four new platforms will come into use at Waverley, the city's main station, as part of its ongoing refurbishment.
Several other platforms are to change their numbers, with station staff working today to put up new signs and posters to help passengers find their way around.
But the 150 million revamp of Waverley - which is not due for completion until the end of next year - will lead to services between Edinburgh and stations in Fife, Carnoustie and Stirling, starting and finishing at Haymarket station.
The move has been ordered because of the closure over the next six months of various platforms at Waverley while further work is carried out.
However, a new platform has been created at Haymarket to allow passengers on incoming services to change trains there.
Nearly 40 services a day to and from Waverley will start and terminate at Haymarket instead of Waverley, but mainline services between Edinburgh and Glasgow will not be affected.
Passengers have been urged to allow extra time for journeys to and from affected areas.
David Simpson, route director at Network Rail, said: "The opening of the new platforms shows that real progress is being made at Edinburgh Waverley.
"They are a key part of the increase in capacity and passenger comfort the current redevelopment will bring. As they are opening just after Christmas, shoppers can enjoy an easier and less congested journey to and from the post-Christmas sales."
Mary Dickson, managing director of First ScotRail, said: "As always, our focus is on our customers. Robust arrangements are in place to keep passengers fully informed, and to ensure any inconvenience is kept to a minimum during works, which will ultimately make journeys easier by lessening congestion and increasing the number of services."
Robert Samson, of watchdog Passenger Focus, said: "It is essential that during the redevelopment work passengers are kept informed about the disruption to services and timetable changes.
"We are pleased to note that the rail industry in Scotland is working to co-ordinate the timetable changes and ensure passengers have access to the information in plenty of time."
Waverley is Britain's second largest station, but with more than 23 million passengers a year, it is operating at its capacity limit.
The number of trains using the station has risen by 50 per cent in the past 15 years. The 150m revamp project was drawn up as a proposed "phase one" of Waverley's redevelopment, with at least 500m needed for the next stage of works, which would have involved building more platforms and a much larger shopping centre on top of the station.
The Evening News revealed in August that the council was forced to "draw a line" under these proposals because it could not find a way to secure funding from the Scottish Executive.
But business leaders believe they can persuade major financial firms to help pay for the next phase of the refurbishment.
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Friday 24 May 2013
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