Late-night revellers trying to get home from the Edinburgh Fringe over the bank holiday weekend were met with chaos at Waverley and Haymarket stations as packed trains failed to meet demand.
Services running out of the Capital were jammed full on Saturday night, forcing passengers to wait on the platforms for up to an hour-and-a-half. There were reports of fights on the platforms of both central stations, with officers having to allegedly restrain angry passengers who were unable to board trains.
Passenger Scott McCartney was trying to get home to Burntisland.
He arrived at Waverley 15 minutes early for the 10.10pm train only to be told by ScotRail staff he would not be able to board the service as it was full.
“It was really, really frustrating because we had tried to get there nice and early and the train had been removed from the board,” he said. “It caused a lot of confusion. We were allowed through the barrier and the queue just built up on the platform. People were getting rowdy and frustrated and the police were there.
“It was sad to see because the situation was entirely preventable with more carriages and better communication.
“Everyone’s drunk. ScotRail didn’t make those people drunk, but they didn’t make for a comfortable atmosphere by causing this confusion and failing to communicate to the paying customers.
“Because you have this dodgy situation, the police are left kind of clearing up ScotRail’s mess – not a good use of their resources.”
Mr McCartney said travellers and commuters from Fife had recently experienced a raw deal with train services to and from the city. He said: “It’s frustrating and has been an ongoing problem for some time with deteriorating service.
“Fifers are only just getting over the station skipping in recent months, which saw them miss out stations entirely.
“Again it is blamed on lack of rolling stock, but what does that mean to ordinary fee-paying customers?”
Cailean McLean said his wife waited an hour-and-a-half for a train home to Armadale.
He said: “Haymarket and Waverley were absolute chaos. Platforms were being closed because they were full. Fights were breaking out. Police had to restrain angry passengers that couldn’t get on trains. My wife got on a train an hour-and-a-half after she got to the station. Utter farce.”
ScotRail said they would remove a service from station departure boards if it was too busy. A ScotRail spokesman said: “We’ve been using every carriage available to us, as well as running extra services every night during the Edinburgh Festivals.
“Services were very busy [on Saturday night] and we’re very sorry to anyone who couldn’t join their first choice of train.”
British Transport Police were unavailable for comment.
Ahead of the Edinburgh Festivals, ScotRail announced additional late-night trains and extra carriages to all routes out of Edinburgh Waverley, with 34 carriages added to the Borders services.
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