Together with Network Rail, ScotRail has invested in new trains and electrification to enable us to make timetable improvements between Stirling, Edinburgh and Glasgow.
Between now and the end of 2019, we are making a series of changes to improve journeys for customers travelling in Central Scotland. We are making changes to the timetable, the stations that the trains call at, and the trains that we use for these services.
These changes will make the best of the significant investment in electrification and our new Hitachi class 385 electric trains. The introduction of the new trains will offer improved comfort and offer small journey time savings. However, your feedback tells us that to make rail more attractive for commuting and leisure trips, journey times must be much faster. To make significant improvements to journey times and to provide enough seats for everyone who travels at peak times, we must make structural changes to the timetable.
Working with stakeholders, we have developed a new timetable that’s more reliable, delivers more capacity and offers better journey times across the whole day for the majority of our passengers.
All services between Dunblane and Edinburgh will be operated by electric trains, except services that start or finish in Perth. Unfortunately, due to delays in the delivery of our new class 385 Hitachi electric trains we cannot introduce all elements of the new timetable at once. We introduced an interim timetable in December and the full timetable will be introduced in May 2019.
Whilse the morning and evening limited stop service no longer runs there will be regular journey opportunities providing an arrival into Edinburgh every half hour in the morning peak and arrivals into Stirling every half hour in the evening. The May 2019 timetable will provide consistent journey times, throughout the day, saving up to ten minutes when compared with the old timetable.
We recognise the new timetable may be slightly poorer for those who found the times of the former limited stop service in each direction to be very convenient, but the new timetable will provide a much improved choice for those who were constrained to using these services because they were the only viable options in the peaks.
The feedback that we have already received has noted that there is a desire for all morning peak trains from Dunblane and Bridge of Allan to Edinburgh to be direct with no need to change at Stirling. This is something that we are currently working on. We are also monitoring passenger numbers in the peaks to ensure that we will provide sufficient seats for everyone travelling at these times from May 2019.
Please note that these timetable are only draft versions, and may be subject to change. We will continue to work with Network Rail to finalise the May 2019 timetable over the coming months.
Why are we making these changes?
For customers travelling from Dunblane and Bridge of Allan to Edinburgh, the old morning peak timetable offers six journey opportunities arriving before 09:15, but has an irregular pattern, a long gap between 07:32 and 08:17 for trains arriving in Edinburgh, with the next service arriving only a few minutes later; and only one service with a journey time under one hour. The consequence of this is that one third of morning peak commuters from Dunblane and Bridge of Allan travel on the same train, the 07:23 from Dunblane to Edinburgh, arriving into Edinburgh at 08:20.
In the evening peak, customers from Edinburgh to Bridge of Allan and Dunblane are more evenly spread and the 17:27 Edinburgh to Dunblane limited stop service does not have the same attraction despite the faster journey time.
In addition to this, services between Dunblane, Bridge of Allan and Edinburgh are busy with the substantial number of customers who board at Polmont and Linlithgow. These customers account for 40% of people travelling on these services.
To offer a better service for customers along the whole route, we are splitting the service so that customers from Dunblane and Bridge of Allan will no longer catch the same train as customers from Polmont and Linlithgow for most of the day.
As services between Dunblane and Bridge of Allan will no longer call at Polmont and Linlithgow during the day, this frees up a large number of seats on every train and allows the journey time to Edinburgh to be reduced. A new half-hourly service between Glasgow, Cumbernauld, Falkirk Grahamston and Edinburgh will call at Polmont and Linlithgow. This train will be less busy than the current services from the Stirling area, leaving more seats for customers at Falkirk, Polmont and Linlithgow travelling into Edinburgh during peak periods.
A small number of customers, around 300 single trips each day, travel between Dunblane, Bridge of Allan, Stirling and Polmont or Linlithgow. We will continue to provide a direct service between these stations in the evenings, but during the day customers will have to change trains at Falkirk Grahamston. We recognise this may be inconvenient, but the change provides more seats for all customers and allows more than 5,000 people per day travelling to Edinburgh to have much improved journey times.
As part of these changes, we want to make the service between Stirling and Edinburgh operate on a regular half hourly interval throughout as much of the day as possible. This means changing the times of some peak services but also means more early morning and late evening services.
Due to delays in the delivery of our new Hitachi electric trains, we have not been able to introduce the original timetable planned for December 2018.
As a result, an interim timetable is in operation between December 2018 and May 2019. This provides more seats for customers, but journey time savings are modest at two minutes. The majority of services are now operated by our Class 365 electric trains, with a small number of diesel trains continuing to be used between Dunblane and Edinburgh, until we have sufficient Hitachi Class 385s next year.
We appreciate that this interim timetable may be poorer for many customers who currently travel between Dunblane, Bridge of Allan and Edinburgh in the peaks, and we're sorry for this. We have responded to the overwhelming requests from customers asking for more seats as quickly as possible.
We are confident that the May 2019 timetable change will resolve the majority of complaints.
Dunblane, Alloa and Stirling to Glasgow Queen Street
December 2018 saw the introduction of Hitachi Class 385s on almost half of services between Alloa, Stirling and Glasgow. Services operated by these trains are up to five minutes faster.
In May 2019, all services between Dunblane, Alloa, Stirling and Glasgow, except for those services that start or terminate north of Dunblane, will be operated by Class 385s. This will enable more people to benefit from improved journey times. To make this happen, train times along the route will change.
There are changes to train times between Glasgow, Stirling, Alloa and Dunblane. Currently local services from Glasgow Queen Street to Alloa depart Glasgow Queen Street at around 20 minutes past the hour, while services that terminate at Stirling or Dunblane depart Glasgow Queen Street around 50 minutes past the hour. From May 2019 these will swap, with services from Glasgow Queen Street to Alloa generally departing around 50 minutes past the hour while services that terminate at Stirling or Dunblane will generally depart Glasgow Queen St around 20 minutes past the hour.
Services between Glasgow Queen Street and Dunblane that start or finish at Perth or further north will see a small change in departure times as we create faster journeys across Central Scotland. Services from Glasgow Queen Street to Dunblane that terminate in Dunblane will see a more significant change, generally departing from Glasgow Queen Street at around 20 past the hour, compared to around 50 past the hour today.
There are a small number of additional peak journeys between Stirling and Glasgow Queen Street as we extend peak time services at Lenzie to start or terminate at Stirling. In addition, 17:03 Glasgow Queen Street to Falkirk Grahamston will be diverted to Stirling.
How can I get involved?
We’ve been consulting with stakeholders and community groups along the route to get feedback on our draft timetable plans.
If you have any comments about the timetable improvements, you can contact us by email at [email protected]