ScotRail strikes: Golf fans told not to travel to The Open in St Andrews by train

Fans attending The 150th Open at St Andrews next week have been warned not to travel by rail as industrial action hits one of Scotland’s biggest events of the summer.

The R&A has contacted all ticket holders to advise they should travel by road or use alternative public transport to attend The Open each day.

The warning has been issued for the international event, running from July 10 to 17, due to a limited temporary timetable being operated by ScotRail on those dates.

A much reduced number of rail services will run to and from Leuchars – the nearest station to St Andrews – as a result of ScotRail’s ongoing dispute with train drivers’ union Aslef.

Thousands of golf fans will descend on St Andrews next week for the 150th Open, but getting there by rail is not advised. (Photo: Michael Gillen)

ScotRail said trains between Edinburgh, Dundee, and Aberdeen and Leuchars would run roughly every 60 minutes on Championship days from Thursday to Sunday.

Phil Campbell, ScotRail head of customer operations, said: “We’re doing absolutely everything we can to support travel to the historic 150th Open at the fantastic Old Course at St Andrews. However, we urge fans to plan ahead and consider what alternative transport is available.

“Regrettably, our temporary timetable will still be in place throughout the Championship, which means there will be a very limited number of trains to and from Leuchars – the closest station to the course.

“Space on board these trains are limited, so I’d urge fans to consider alternative modes of transport as there will be significantly long queues at stations and we may not be able to get you to the course."

Only a limited number of trains will be travelling to Leuchars, the nearest station to St Andrews (Photo: Jamie Callaghan)

Contingency measures will be in place, including increased capacity at park and ride facilities to cater for the expected rise in the number of fans travelling by road. Individuals have been told they should purchase park and ride tickets in advance to minimise waiting times.

Johnnie Cole-Hamilton, executive director of the Championships at The R&A, said: “Due to circumstances out of our control, we have no choice but to urge fans to not travel by rail to The Open and to use alternative means of transport to get to and from St Andrews next week. There is a risk that fans who travel by train may find there are no services to get them home.

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“We appreciate that fans will be frustrated by this and share in their disappointment that the enhanced rail service planned for The Open will not operate.

"We want to reassure fans that we are doing all that we can to make their experience of attending The Open a memorable one and have contingency measures in place to manage the situation.”

Tournament organisers have said alternative public transport, including buses and taxis, is available for fans to use.

Aslef last month agreed to accept a 5 per cent pay rise for its members after negotiations with the bosses of newly-nationalised ScotRail.

But issues on the rail network have continued over subsequent weeks, with Aslef having to put the deal to its executive committee before then going to its members. The final vote is due to be held this Monday.

The warning from the R&A is the latest blow for a packed schedule of events across Scotland this summer, with doubts remaining over whether a full rail timetable will be restored for Edinburgh’s main festivals programme next month.

It comes just 24 hours after thousands of festival goers were told to seek alternative travel as ScotRail confirmed no trains will run after TRNSMT in Glasgow on Sunday.

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