ScotRail to run first Boxing Day trains through Falkirk Grahamston for at least 40 years
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The Scottish Government-owned operator is extending its December 26 services to run between the capital and Dunblane, Glenrothes and Perth via Kirkcaldy.
Trains will be hourly on the routes, with the Dunblane line running through Stirling and the Glenrothes route operating via Dunfermline.
ScotRail will also resume Edinburgh-Glasgow services on the main line via Falkirk High, which were launched as an experiment in 2021, but did not operate last year, along with other Boxing Day trains because of a Network Rail signallers’ strike.
There will also be trains on a secondary line between the cities via Airdrie and Bathgate which have not operated for several years.
ScotRail’s only other Boxing Day services are in and around Glasgow, which will be extended this year to Alloa. All its December 26 trains will run between about 10am and 7pm.
Rail industry sources said the new Edinburgh services were the first of their kind since at least the early 1980s.
Cross-Border operators LNER, Avanti West Coast, CrossCountry, Lumo, TransPennine Express and Caledonian Sleeper will not run any services on Boxing Day.
The festive rail expansion was welcomed by shopkeepers, who have seen sales slide for a fourth month in a row.
David Lonsdale, director of the Scottish Retail Consortium, said: “Boxing Day remains a hugely popular part of the shopping calendar as customers seek to take advantage of the traditional post-Christmas sales and bargains on offer.
"Laying on extra train services is great news and comes on top of the recently-introduced discounted peak rail fares scheme. It should hopefully entice more Scots to get out and visit stores in our larger conurbations and city centres during the critical festive trading period for retailers.”
ScotRail hailed the “significant” expansion, which has been possible in part because it has cleared a backlog of driver training that built up during the Covid pandemic.
Service delivery director David Simpson said: “We know how important this time of year is for people to be able to visit family and friends and we are delighted to be able to provide extra services for them to do that.
“Traditionally, we have only been able to run trains in the Strathclyde area, but this year we have been able to significantly extend that to include Perth, Dunblane and Glenrothes, and between Bathgate and Edinburgh.
“There may be minor changes to some trains time during the Christmas period, including the last trains on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Day departing earlier. We are encouraging customers to plan ahead, and check the ScotRail app and website for journey times before they set off.”
City of Edinburgh Council transport convener Scott Arthur said: “I’m sure lots of people will welcome this news from ScotRail. Many residents in Edinburgh and across Scotland don’t have access to a car, so these additional services will let people enjoy the capital and visit loved ones more easily over the festive season.”