Six Nations chaos fears over Waverley barriers

Taxis have been queued up on Waverley Bridge waiting to enter the station.  Picture: Ian Rutherford
Taxis have been queued up on Waverley Bridge waiting to enter the station. Picture: Ian Rutherford
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THOUSANDS of rugby fans pouring into the Capital will lead to traffic “chaos” at Waverley’s new security barriers, taxi drivers have warned.

A huge travelling support is expected when Scotland host England in the Calcutta Cup at Murrayfield in a fortnight – with the station a prime port for their arrival.

The new anti-terror barriers have drawn criticism since their installation last Monday, with taxis forced to queue all the way up Waverley Bridge while waiting their turn to enter the station.

Network Rail drafted in two stewards to manually operate the new barriers as the automatic 30-second wait between the barriers closing and reopening caused major tailbacks.

Raymond Davidson, secretary of the Edinburgh Taxi Association, believes there will be further disruption ahead of the 5pm kick-off on February 8. He said: “There will be hundreds, if not thousands, of fans getting off those trains and only two cabs a minute will be able to get into the station.

“Those waiting to get in will be left backed up along Waverley Bridge.

“Those barriers will be properly put to the test that weekend. I would hope that Network Rail have thought of this because there could be chaos.”

He added: “We understand that any new system takes some time to get used to and I’m sure city cab drivers will get used to it, but the whole thing has come as quite a surprise and not just to us, it seems, but to the council also.”

Station bosses, however, insisted they were “confident” the new system will withstand the rugby crowds and moved to dampen down speculation over how the barriers will perform.

A Network Rail spokesman said: “We are confident the system will provide a good service for passengers while also helping to meet our need to enhance security and improve the station environment.

“We have invested over £130 million in Waverley over the last four years renewing the roof, refurbishing the concourse and upgrading the entrances and the station is now more accessible than at any time in its history.

“Waverley is the only Network Rail major station to have retained an internal taxi rank and the facility is being provided primarily to assist those who are unable to exit the station without assistance.”

Council leaders have claimed the barriers were installed without adequate warning, with transport chief Lesley Hinds raising fears the resulting traffic could put pedestrians at risk.

But Network Rail said it had been waiting two years for the council to install a zebra crossing.