Passenger numbers soar at Waverley as Edinburgh festivals begin

More than 340,000 passengers passed through Edinburgh Waverley during the first weekend of the Edinburgh festivals, ScotRail has revealed.

Increased passenger numbers are expected to pass through Waverley this weekend. Picture: Andrew O'Brien
Increased passenger numbers are expected to pass through Waverley this weekend. Picture: Andrew O'Brien

The number of people who passed through the station between Friday, 4 August and Sunday, 6 August shows the scale of the operation undertaken by rail operators to handle the spike in traffic, the operator said.

This coming weekend is expected to be the busiest few days of the festival in terms of passengers, with customers advised to buy their tickets in advance and check timetables before boarding.

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Additional late night services between Edinburgh Waverley and Glasgow Queen Street, via Falkirk High, are operating daily, departing from Edinburgh 12.01am and 12.30am.

There has also been a major increase in the number of carriages between Glasgow and Edinburgh, particularly Friday to Sunday, both via the Airdrie/Bathgate line and via Falkirk High, while extra carriages between Edinburgh and Fife are running on Friday evenings and all day Saturday and Sunday

An extra service is running after midnight between North Berwick and Edinburgh to transport visitors to the Fringe by the Sea.

“Once again Edinburgh’s festival season proves to be a huge draw for visitors coming to enjoy the events,” said Perry Ramsey, operations director at ScotRail Alliance.

“Where possible, we’ve cut back on any non-essential train engineering or maintenance, so that we have the maximum number of carriages available for use over this busiest weekend.

“We know that our trains will be very busy, so we are encouraging all customers to plan their journeys in advance.”

The timing of the festivals has been questioned this week, with Donald Wilson, a former Lord Provost of the capital, suggesting the Edinburgh International Festival and the Fringe be held earlier in the summer to ensure more families can take part.

The former teacher said the switch, along with a greater geographical spread of shows, should be seriously debated as part of moves to “deepen and widen participation” in the festivals across the city.