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Edinburgh to Glasgow service boost part of timetable change

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Services between Glasgow Queen Street and Edinburgh (via Falkirk High) will be increased to a 15-minute frequency on Saturdays as part of the latest ScotRail timetable change, from Sunday, 21 May.  

This reflects growing numbers of customers now using the service out with peak times than before the pandemic. Saturday is now the busiest day on the route, and a service every 15 minutes in each direction from 08:45 to 17:15 is a welcome boost for customers.  

The number of passengers using ScotRail services increased by 36 per cent in 2022/23, to 63.7 million from 46.8 million the previous year. As of March 2023, the numbers travelling off peak is comparable with the pre-pandemic levels, but commuting journeys are just under 65 per cent of what they used to be.  

The train operator has closely monitored the changes in customer demand and Clydesdale, Lanarkshire, and West Lothian have all benefited from improved services last December, with more trains running between Edinburgh and Glasgow on the routes via Shotts and Carstairs.  

The May 2023 timetable builds on these improvements with faster journey times on services operating between Ayr and Glasgow. 

Ardrossan and Largs services will now call at stations in the Garnock Valley to improve connectivity, and free up space for additional customers traveling to Troon while Calmac’s Arran services are diverted there.  

There are further plans to operate more daytime and evening services next year, to cater for leisure trips to the seaside and Glasgow’s hospitality sector.  

Additional trains will operate between Ayr and Kilmarnock and services are retimed to provide better connections to Dumfries and Carlisle.  

As a trial, there will be an increase to the number of services between Dundee and Edinburgh which call at Cupar from one to two per hour, the same as Leuchars. And a further trial will see an additional return journey between Glasgow and Oban on Sundays during the summer, as a replacement for the poorly used Edinburgh to Oban service.  

In Inverclyde, the small number of fast services between Glasgow and Gourock that operate out with peak periods will be removed from the timetable. These changes will help to reliably operate the core Inverclyde service of at least three trains per hour during the day, with additional fast services at peak times. 

ScotRail is now designing new future timetables for services in Inverclyde, which will help grow passenger numbers. These plans will be shared with customers and stakeholders in Inverclyde in the coming months, and feedback on the proposals will help to shape further changes. 

A small number of additional daytime services will operate on the Cathcart Circle in South Glasgow from May, and subject to sufficient drivers completing their training, this will be increased to an hourly service from December.  

Due to issues created during the pandemic with driver training, ScotRail can’t operate as many trains as they’d like, and the total number of weekday services remains consistent with the December 2022 timetable at around 2,100 per day. 

The operator is continuing to recruit as many trainee drivers as the programme can accommodate but the result of this is that ScotRail is limited in the number of services which it can operate until the backlog is cleared. 

With the new timetable coming into place, customers are encouraged to check their journey on the ScotRail website, mobile app, and through social media channels as train times may have changed.  

Customers can check train times at scotrail.co.uk and on the ScotRail app. Timetables can also be downloaded from the ScotRail website.  

David Simpson, ScotRail Service Delivery Director, said:  

  “This is another step forward for Scotland’s Railway, as we continue to recover from the impact of the pandemic.  

“The way people travel has dramatically changed in the past two years, and we are doing everything we can to provide the best possible service. 

“The increased frequency between Edinburgh and Glasgow is a major milestone on the road to recovery, and we have essentially introduced entirely new timetables between Ayrshire and Glasgow, and Inverclyde and Glasgow.  

“There is a lot of investment in Scotland’s Railway, with decarbonisation continuing and improvements across the network, and this new timetable is an important part of that.”  

Photo credit: ScotRail

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