Hundreds More Trains As Scotland’s Railway Launches New Timetable

ScotRail is adding more than 400 extra trains to its timetable as it supports the lifting of lockdown restrictions and a return towards a more normal way of life.

Almost 2,000 trains a day will be running from Monday, 17 May, a daily increase of 432 on the schedule announced by the train operator in February.

Since the start of the pandemic, there has been a clear shift away from customers travelling during the morning (07.00-09.00) and evening (16.30-18.30) peaks to other times of the day. This helps spread demand and maintain physical distancing on services, and customers are encouraged to continue to plan their journey in advance, avoiding busy services where possible.

With more people working from home or taking advantage of more flexible working hours, there has been a significant change in how people travel with ScotRail and the train operator expects that to continue.

Passenger numbers are still hugely down on their pre-COVID levels, however more customers are expected to begin travelling again on Scotland’s Railway because of the reduction in coronavirus controls.

ScotRail is confident its new timetable from 17 May will meet demand over the coming months without compromising the safety of passengers who are encouraged to observe the five rules for safer travel.

These include continuing to wear a face covering and maintaining physical distancing of one metre in stations and on trains where possible.

Some of the additions to services include:

Restoration of evening and late services across Scotland.
Additional peak services on some of ScotRail’s busiest routes.
Improved service between Glasgow, Barrhead, and Kilmarnock.
Additional trains between Inverness and Wick.
Additional summer Sunday service between Edinburgh and Oban.
Improved service between Glasgow, Oban, Fort William and Mallaig.

The train operator is advising customers to check their journey before travelling, to see which services are affected by the timetable changes. Customers are also reminded to buy tickets before boarding a train.

Passengers can also reserve a place on services up to 6 August, with the exception of strike dates and on routes affected by engineering works. This will guarantee a place on the train but not a specific seat number. This is part of ScotRail’s commitment to ensuring physical distancing can be maintained more easily by allowing customers with reservations to choose where they want to sit.

David Simpson, ScotRail Operations Director, said:


“Now we are seeing light at the end of this very long tunnel, it’s time to recognise that people will want to use trains more regularly, and our new timetable coming in on 17 May will reflect that.
“Although certain restrictions such as wearing a face covering and maintaining physical distancing of at least a metre will remain for now, it’s a first step in getting the rail network back to where we, and our paying customers, want it to be.”

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