Passenger boom at Haymarket after £25m revamp

Haymarket's concourse was tripled in size and a 'rugby tunnel' was built. Picture: Andrew O'Brien
Haymarket's concourse was tripled in size and a 'rugby tunnel' was built. Picture: Andrew O'Brien
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PASSENGER numbers at Haymarket Station have shot up by ten per cent since it underwent a £25 million revamp.

Figures released by Scotrail have revealed the number of people using the station between April and July has rocketed to 667,000 from 611,000 last year.

It means the station is on track for the predicted 125 per cent rise in passenger numbers over the next 15 years.

Transport bosses and passenger groups welcomed the news, attributing some of the jump to the launch of the trams.

Lawrence Marshall, chairman of the Capital Rail Action Group, described the hike as “phenomenal growth”.

He said: “I think it’s ­probably a combination of the new station being more attractive, the trams and the ­general buoyancy of the railways which is happening at Waverley as well – that is behind the increase. With the trams now providing an interchange, ­particularly avoiding the route where they don’t seem to be performing well in the city ­centre, I think Haymarket is pretty useful in terms of getting to the airport.”

The new-look transport hub opened in December featuring a transparent plastic roof similar to Waverley, while an extra set of stairs and “rugby ­tunnel” were built specifically for match days at Murrayfield. Its concourse floor space tripled to 8700 square metres, designed to cope with the expected surge in numbers and a series of escalators, bridges and stairs now connect the steel and glass structure to existing platforms.

The latest numbers follow bumper figures at Waverley station, which enjoyed its ­busiest-ever month with nearly six million passengers travelling through it in August.

Official Network Rail ­statistics showed 5,995,730 people visited the station throughout the month as revellers flocked to the festivals.

Passenger numbers are recorded every four weeks, with ScotRail reporting numbers across Scotland up 30 per cent since First Group was awarded the contract in 2004.

A spokeswoman for Scotrail said: “We welcome the rise in the number of customers using Haymarket. Although the numbers help to show passenger volume over a short time, more accurate information would be obtained over a longer period.”

Councillor Lesley Hinds, city transport leader, said she hoped the upward trend would continue with more planned bids for Scottish Government funding in the future.

“This is great news about passenger numbers going up,” she said.

“With the successful start of the tram passenger service and the major refurbishment of Haymarket, it has become a major transport interchange, offering truly integrated and accessible public transport for residents and visitors to Edinburgh.”

kate.pickles@edinburghnews.com