ScotRail’s new timetable could leave St Andrews clogged with cars during The Open, it has been claimed.
The rail operator has slashed services amid a union dispute, with evening and late trains bearing the brunt of the cuts.
Train timetablers have cut services between Dundee and Leuchars — the stop off point for St Andrews.
The 150th Open is set to take place at the Home of Golf in July. It is expected to be one of the biggest sporting events of the summer.
Will St Andrews become ‘overrun’ with cars?
Local Lib Dem councillor and rail campaigner Jane Ann Liston has highlighted issues which may crop up if the union dispute drags on for months.
That includes local businesses being hit in the pocket.
She said: “It (the lack of trains) will certainly discourage visiting spectators from deciding to eat in the town after the golf, because they won’t have time before the last train from Leuchars.
The last thing St Andrews needs is to be overrun with even more cars than usual.”
Jane Ann Liston
“I fear it will also undermine the organiser’s stated aim to discourage people from driving to and from St Andrews.”
Jane is also worried there will not be enough buses to meet a resultant rise in demand if rail options are not in place.
This may lead many people to drive to St Andrews, she fears. That is despite plans for heavy restrictions on parking in the town.
“The last thing St Andrews needs is to be overrun with even more cars than usual,” Jane added.
What rail options will remain?
If the emergency timetable is still in place during the tournament, golf fans will have to make it to Leuchars for 9.16pm if heading to Dundee.
Previously, services ran up until midnight.
ScotRail bosses are cutting the number of evening services to Dundee from 12 to seven.
This also means the trains that are running are likely to be significantly busier.
However, getting beyond Dundee by rail in the evening will be increasingly difficult the later it gets. Very few services depart from the city after 7pm.
If heading south from Leuchars, the last train will depart at 7pm. This will make staying elsewhere in Fife – or Edinburgh – difficult without private transport.
Morning options are largely unaffected.
How can I get to The Open?
Travelling by train is the first suggestion listed on the historic event’s ‘Getting There’ webpage.
It promises an “enhanced service” during The Open, which is unlikely if the emergency timetable is still in place in its current form.
Temporary traffic regulations and parking restrictions will be introduced in St Andrews during the event, according to The Open website.
It states: “These will be enforced… to minimise disruption to local residents and businesses, assist traffic flow and increase safety and security for all road users.”
Drivers will be diverted to temporary park and ride locations. There will be no parking at St Andrews Links or “in the immediate area”.
There will be some bus options.
R&A has been approached for comment.
A ScotRail spokesman said it would be “wrong to assume” the temporary timetable will be the same by the summer.
“It’s too early to comment on events this summer,” he said.