ScotRail advises fans to leave Scotland game early

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Scotland fans at Central stationImage source, Getty Images

Fans heading to the Scotland v Armenia game by rail will have to leave at half time to make the last train home.

ScotRail has urged those heading to Hampden Park for the Nations League match on Wednesday to consider their travel options due to reduced services.

An emergency timetable remains in place in an ongoing row over pay.

Kick-off is at 19:45 but the last train of the night from the national stadium's closest station leaves long before the final whistle.

Supporters hoping to catch a train will either have to leave during the first half to get the last train from King's Park at 20:29 or at half time to get the 20:46 from Mount Florida.

ScotRail said there would be very limited journey opportunities departing from Glasgow Central and Glasgow Queen Street after the match, with no trains on most routes out of the city centre.

The last service from Mount Florida, Hampden Park's nearest station, back to Glasgow Central will leave before the game ends.

Phil Campbell, ScotRail's head of customer operations, said the operator was "doing all we can to help football fans head to Hampden and cheer on the national team".

But he warned: "Customers should be aware that the last trains of the night will depart Mount Florida before the final whistle, so we urge fans to plan ahead and consider their travel options."

Image source, PA Media
Image caption,
Fans will struggle to get home from Hampden Park after the game

The operator will be adding extra carriages to as many trains as possible from Glasgow Central to Mount Florida before the game.

Some 700 services have been cut from the ScotRail timetable as a pay dispute rumbles on, with members of the Aslef union refusing to work on rest days as a result.

Talks aimed at ending the dispute between Scotland's rail provider and train drivers will resume on Thursday, the union has said.

The union previously agreed an offer from ScotRail, but it was later rejected by the executive committee.

More talks were held on Monday, before being adjourned within a matter of hours, but ScotRail deemed the discussions to be "constructive".

ScotRail encouraged fans to get to the ground as early as possible as trains would be busy, with the turnstiles at Hampden Park opening at 18:00.

The operator also urged people to buy tickets ahead of time and said queueing systems would be in place at Glasgow Central before the game.

Fans travelling to Scotland v Ukraine a week ago faced a similar predicament.

However, ScotRail did add extra services on the day of the match to take fans to local areas and some further-away destinations such as Edinburgh, Stirling and Ayr.

Image source, Reuters
Image caption,
The crowd is expected to be smaller than the one which attended the Ukraine game

The Scottish Conservatives' transport spokesman Graham Simpson said the government should have intervened "to ensure supporters were not left in the lurch".

"The Tartan Army face travel chaos thanks to ScotRail's unacceptably poor service," he said.

"ScotRail's suggested solution - that fans leave at half-time to get the last train from Mount Florida to Glasgow Central - is insulting and tone deaf to the reality of being a football fan."

After raising an urgent question on the Scottish Parliament on Wednesday afternoon, Mr Simpson asked Transport Minister Jenny Gilruth if she wanted to apologise to the Tartan Army.

Ms Gilruth said the situation was "deeply frustrating" for supporters but that the dispute had made timetabling "incredibly challenging" for ScotRail.

She said that while 7,000 fans had travelled to the match between Scotland and Ukraine by train, only 2,500 had made the return journey because some fans preferred to walk back to the centre of Glasgow.

The minister said the crowd for the Armenia match was expected to be far smaller than the Ukraine game, and that ScotRail had advised that there was not enough capacity available to provide a replacement bus service from Hampden to the city centre.

Ms Gilruth said she wanted to see a resolution to the pay dispute so that ScotRail could get back to providing a full service for everyone.

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