Rail passengers will benefit from a new service introduced today by Virgin Trains.
The new direct rail service linking Stirling and London will stop at Falkirk, as well as Haymarket and Edinburgh Waverley.
The inaugural service left Stirling at 5.26am and arrived at London King’s Cross at 10.52.
This direct route means passengers do not have to change trains in Edinburgh and will cut journey times by about 46 minutes, according to the rail operator.
The new route is Virgin’s first expansion of services in Scotland since it won the franchise to operate on the East Coast mainline.
Transport minister Derek Mackay said: “I am pleased to launch this service from Stirling to London and I am confident that it will be a major draw for tourists, students, business and residents and deliver significant economic benefits to Stirling and the wider locality.”
One of the passengers onboard the first service who expects to be a regular passenger in the months ahead is John McNally, MP for Falkirk.
He said: “I usually get the train down to London on Sunday to get to Westminster. Having the early morning direct departure from Falkirk means travel to London on the Monday will be a much simpler option,” he said.
“Being able to work onboard means I can get ready for the week in London on the way there. It’s also really positive to see Scotland supported by strong rail links to England.”