Football fans travelling by train to the Scottish Cup semi-finals this weekend have been urged by ScotRail to plan their journeys in advance.
For the first time in the Scottish Cup's 148-year history, derby matches will decide the cup finalists.
The weekend begins with an all-Edinburgh affair, as Hearts meet Hibernian at Hampden Park on Saturday, 16 April (KO 1215), and on Easter Sunday, 17 April, Celtic will play Rangers in an all-Glasgow encounter (KO1400).
ScotRail is adding extra seats to as many trains as possible to help fans travel to the matches, however the train operator is advising supporters to leave extra time for travel as trains will be busy.
Queuing systems will be in place at stations before and after the final whistle on both days, which include Glasgow Central, Mount Florida, Kings Park, and key stations across the network.
On Saturday, Hearts fans should join the queues on the Carriage Drive off Hope Street at Glasgow Central and travel on trains to Mount Florida, while Hibs fans will queue on the main concourse for services to Kings Park.
The same queuing system will apply on Sunday, with Rangers fans asked to queue on the Carriage Drive for Mount Florida services, and Celtic fans queuing on the main concourse for Kings Park trains.
After the match, fans are asked to return to the station promptly and join the respective queues at Mount Florida for Hearts and Rangers fans, and at Kings Park for Hibernian and Celtic supporters.
To reduce the need to queue on the day, customers are encouraged to buy their return tickets to either Mount Florida or Kings Park in advance via the mTicket system on the ScotRail app.
Buying tickets through the mTickets system 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.
Customers are reminded that major improvement works between Rutherglen and Exhibition Centre will impact those travelling to and from the city centre on services which would normally operate via Glasgow Central Low Level.
Many services will be diverted into Glasgow Central High Level or Glasgow Queen Street Low Level resulting in slightly longer journey times.
A replacement bus service is in operation from Carmyle, Newton, Cambuslang, Rutherglen, Dalmarnock, Bridgeton, Glasgow Central, Exhibition Centre, and Partick, however space is limited.
First Glasgow is also providing extra capacity on their bus services between the city centre, Bridgeton, Dalmarnock, and Rutherglen throughout the improvement works.
ScotRail is also urging anyone travelling on Scotland’s Railway to stay safe by continuing to follow Scottish Government guidelines.
This includes maintaining good hand hygiene and the mandatory wearing of a face covering for the entirety of their journey, which includes on trains and in stations – both enclosed and open-air platforms. Customers are also asked to take a lateral flow test before travelling.
The carrying and consumption of alcohol is prohibited on ScotRail services.
Phil Campbell, ScotRail Head of Customer Operations, said:
“If you’re heading to Hampden to cheer on your team this weekend, please plan ahead and allow more time for travel as trains will be busy.
“We’re doing all we can to help supporters travel to the games as hassle-free as possible, which includes more seats on train services to and from Mount Florida and Kings Park.
"Queuing systems will be in place before and after the matches so please make sure you know where to go. We have a dedicated webpage with more information, and our staff will also be on hand to direct you.
“Buying your return tickets in advance through our mTicket system on the ScotRail will reduce your need to queue.”
ScotRail’s top tips for travelling to Hampden Park:
- Buy your return ticket to Mount Florida or Kings Park before you board. You’ll need a valid ticket for travel and checks will be in place at many stations.
- Check your train times. Remember to leave plenty of time to catch any connecting services that you need.
- Listen up! We’ll have extra staff on the ground to help things go smoothly. To help them help you, please listen to their instructions.
- Download the ScotRail app. You can use it to buy tickets, check train times, and see live service information.
- Don’t leave it too late – there will be queuing systems at key stations before and after the game. Services will be busy, and you might not be able to board your first choice of train.