Passengers ‘packed like sardines’ during Festival trains shambles

Festival-goers trying to get home to Falkirk, Glasgow and other destinations from Waverley Station faced “shambolic” scenes last night.

One Falkirk woman said on Twitter: “Went for 11:16 train from Edinburgh-Glasgow only to be met with a riot. Got on train & it was a total crush. A man was pushed out of a carriage and nearly fell onto the tracks and men fighting each other to get space on the train. Eventually left Edinburgh at 12:30!”

Another anguished traveller tweeted that the late night chaos was “like a scene from the Apocalypse” after a series of cancellations and a train breakdown.

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ScotRail advised passengers “to make their own travel arrangements” because the overcrowding meant only limited replacement buses were available.

A source told the Scotsman newspaper the fiasco was due to multiple trains being cancelled because of a shortage of drivers, with one employee commenting: “I have never seen it so bad”.

Those able to get a train found they were “packed like sardines”.

Earlier in the day ScotRail had signalled it was aware services on the Glasgow to Edinburgh main line through Falkirk would be unusually busy because of the Scotland v France rugby clash at Murrayfield and the hordes of visitors flocking to see Fringe and other festival attractions in Edinburgh.

It banned alcohol on trains from 2.30pm, prompting social media comments that while alcohol is seen as a safety issue overcrowding is (they alleged) ignored.

Those comments were amplified after last night’s debacle, which saw hundreds of passengers unable to get on a train home.

One woman told the BBC that at one point the police removed passengers from a train, only for them to be asked to board it again a few minutes later

Among the furious Festival revellers was BBC Newsnight presenter Kirsty Wark, who (the Scotsman reports) fired off a series of angry tweets to ScotRail:

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“What is the problem @ScotRail? Shocking service problems between Edinburgh and Glasgow.

“Please get us some air now @ScotRail or people are going to be ill.

“This is utterly appalling. No information, no apparent care @ScotRail. No water, no air.

“Ok @ScotRail now officially appalling customer service.

“This is getting really nary at Haymarket @ScotRail. Please exert some control.”

A ScotRail spokesperson said the problems had been caused by a train fault at Linlithgow and cancellations because of “crew issues.

“Every available train we have is out on the network to get our customers where they need to be.

“Customers delayed by 30 minutes or more are encouraged to claim for money back via our Delay Repay Guarantee on our website or mobile app.