ScotRail has announced it will run later trains and extra carriages on services to and from Edinburgh throughout the Edinburgh Festivals.
More than two million people are expected to descend on Edinburgh during the festivals as Scotland’s capital city becomes an unparalleled celebration of the performing arts.
Festivalgoers will be treated to thousands of shows spread across more than 250 venues in what will be the first year the festivals will operate fully since the COVID-19 pandemic. The event was cancelled in 2020 and ran with a significantly reduced schedule in 2021, with many shows performed online.
This year is also the 75th anniversary of the Edinburgh Festivals, and to support travel to and from the shows, ScotRail has confirmed it will operate extra late-night trains from Edinburgh Waverley to Glasgow Queen Street via Falkirk High from Friday, 5 August until Sunday, 28 August. (There will be services after midnight into Monday, 29 August, but no additional Festivals services on the evening of 29 August.)
A late-night train will be in operation from North Berwick to Edinburgh between Friday, 5 August and Thursday, 14 August to support return travel from the Fringe by the Sea.
The additional late-night trains are:
- 00:03 Edinburgh Waverley to Glasgow Queen Street via Falkirk High
- 00:33 Edinburgh Waverley to Glasgow Queen Street via Falkirk High
- 00:01 North Berwick to Edinburgh Waverley
Extra carriages will also be added to key trains to and from the capital city from Tweedbank, Fife, Perth, Dundee, Stirling, Dunblane, and Glasgow Central throughout the event.
Customers are encouraged to plan their journey in advance and purchase their tickets through the ScotRail app as part of the mTickets system. This means people can buy their tickets from the comfort of their home, or on the way to the station and it will instantly become available on their mobile device.
However, the train operator is warning of potential significant disruption during the festivals due to planned strike action by Network Rail members of the RMT trade union.
The RMT union announced strike action for Thursday, 18 August and Saturday, 20 August across the Great Britain railway network resulting from a pay dispute with Network Rail.
This dispute does not involve ScotRail staff, however, should the strike action go ahead as planned, it will have a major knock-on effect on the train operator’s ability to provide services as the RMT planned action will involve Network Rail staff in Scotland.
Disruption to ScotRail services would not be confined to the days of strike action themselves but will also affect the day before (Wednesday, 17 August) and the days following them (Friday, 19 August and Sunday, 21 August).
ScotRail will confirm its plan and travel advice for customers for the days affected in the lead up to any strike action.
David Simpson, ScotRail Service Delivery Director, said:
“This year’s Edinburgh Festivals are set to be special as they celebrate their 75th anniversary, and we’re thrilled to be able to, once again, play our part in making it a success.
“We’ll be doing all we can to help showcase Edinburgh, and Scotland, to the world, including running extra late-night services and adding more seats to trains to get people to and from the events.
“Our trains are going be extremely busy, so we’re encouraging everyone visiting the capital to plan their journey in advance, and to buy their train tickets before they board using our mTicket system on our mobile app.
“Festivalgoers should be aware of the potential of significant disruption during the festivals due to planned strike action by Network Rail members of the RMT trade union. We’ll let customers know our plans and travel advice in the coming weeks, should this planned strike action go ahead.”