TRAINS on the popular Glasgow-Oban tourist route are to be doubled to six a day from May next year, ScotRail announced today.
The move could also lead to more school pupils travelling to classes by rail, with the extra services bridging current gaps of up to six hours between trains.
They include a service arriving in Oban before 9am, and an evening train from Oban which will connect with the Fort William-London sleeper at Crianlarich.
The new services, operating Monday to Saturday, will leave Glasgow at 5:10am, 10:37am and 4:37pm , and Oban at 5:20am, 2:41pm and 8:37pm.
The news is the latest in a series of improvements announced by ScotRail, which is expected to seek a new franchise to operate Scotland’s trains when its current, ten-and-a-half year contract ends in 2015.
ScotRail said it had added an extra train to its original plans following pressure from the public-private Highlands and Islands Transport Partnership co-ordinating body (Hitrans) and Argyll and Bute Council.
Managing director Steve Montgomery said: “Our original plan was to run five services a day. However, our early discussions with Hitrans and the council revealed a compelling case for six each day. So much so, that we decided to fund this ourselves.”
ScotRail has also suggested to the council that pupils could receive rail passes to use trains to get to and from school.
Deputy council leader Roddy McCuish said: “This opens up big opportunities for the area and I am sure it will encourage more people to visit this beautiful part of the world.”
Transport Minister Keith Brown said: “I have been extremely encouraged to see this fantastic result of partnership working in practice and it sets a great example for the community rail partnerships we are launching throughout the country.