The Fife-based leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats said it was “a miracle” nobody was injured following a chaotic night in the capital’s train stations.
Passengers reported “chaos” and “riot” like conditions on Saturday evening, with passengers trying to get home to all corners of the country following a busy day at the Festival.
This was coupled with more than 66,000 rugby fans vacating Murrayfield following Scotland’s 17-14 win over France.
ScotRail has promised a full-scale review into what happened at Edinburgh’s stations and on every over-crowded service.
— Vikki wood (@VikkiWood) August 24, 2019
@ScotRail is this really acceptable? This is the 11:30pm train to Glasgow from Waverley. Cancelled, threw off it, it was repurposed to be the 11:45, put back on the same train!!! It’s 11:53 we’ve just left. Surely this is an illegal amount of people. pic.twitter.com/vNzecAv2ZH
— Lesley Eadie (@LellyEadie) August 24, 2019
Went for 11:16 train from Edinburgh-Glasgow only to be met with a riot. Got on train & it was a total crush. A man was pushed out of a carriage and nearly fell onto the tracks and men fighting eachother to get space on the train. Eventually left Edinburgh at 12:30! @ScotRail pic.twitter.com/fOZKshHM1m
— Sami (@Sam_Lazzurs) August 25, 2019
It is understood more seats than ever had been put on by the country’s rail operator over the course of this year’s festival, but the expected demand had exceeded all estimates on Saturday night.
Customers who had bought tickets for train services were forced to turn back.
@ScotRail Shocking service from Edinburgh to Dundee yesterday 24th! Trains cancelled, got 17:00 from Edinburgh absolutely packed and no aircon, dreadful journey for everyone!
— Doug Welham (@DougWelham) August 25, 2019
@ScotRail thanks a bunch cancelled Fife trains, Dundee train only 3 carriages and heaving, now having to wait 1 hour on next train, total joke!!!
— Elinor Dobie (@Eli1169Dobie) August 24, 2019
ScotRail themselves resorted to advising travellers to try to reach alternate transport while the chaos unfolded.
North East Fife MSP Willie Rennie said: “People in Fife are no strangers to train chaos but this takes the biscuit.
“It’s a miracle that no one was badly injured.
@ScotRail Pt2: I was forced to stand Haymarket to Dundee. I believe previous train was cancelled. Guard worked hard to make sure everyone listened to. Edinburgh festival, rugby, etc. ScotRail must have known this service would be inadequate.
— David Howes (@david_howes1) August 26, 2019
@ScotRail train at 15.45 from Haymarket to Glenrothes CANCELLED due to ‘shortage of train crew’ on one of the busiest days of the year with a Scotland game at Murrayfield. Poor show.
— Murdo Fraser (@murdo_fraser) August 24, 2019
We're receiving a large amount of messages in and we won't be able to respond to every message. Please check your journey on https://t.co/QrFU9otcgB You can also speak with staff at the station and/or press our help points for advice. Any abusive messages will be ignored. ^MF
— ScotRail (@ScotRail) August 24, 2019
“Surely ScotRail can look ahead, see that events like the rugby and the festival are taking place and plan accordingly.”
Scottish Conservative transport spokesperson Jamie Green MSP said: “Not for the first time passengers have been subjected to overcrowded trains and delayed services.
“Given some witness accounts it’s no wonder passengers were fearful for their safety.
“Nicola Sturgeon said it was the last chance saloon for Scot Rail, but the SNP have failed to get a grip on problems facing rail services.”
A ScotRail spokesperson said: “We are absolutely committed to providing our customers with the service they expect and deserve, and we do everything possible to keep them moving throughout the year.
“We are sorry to everyone who had to endure some unpleasant conditions both at Edinburgh Waverley station and on the trains themselves.
“We are now undertaking a full review of Saturday night’s events to find out exactly what went wrong, and learn any lessons to ensure we do better in future.
“Anyone delayed by 30 minutes or more to claim for money back via our Delay Repay Guarantee on our website or mobile app.”
Transport Scotland said: “Ministers are taking this very seriously and are clear Saturday night’s incidents are unacceptable.”