ScotRail to review events strategy after festival chaos
Commuters experienced overcrowding, delays and cancellations at Edinburgh Waverley last month.
ScotRail is reviewing how it plans for major events after passengers faced travel chaos during the final weekend of the Edinburgh International Festival and the Fringe.
Commuters experienced overcrowding, delays and cancellations at Edinburgh Waverley on Saturday, August 24.
Police were called to remove passengers from the trains after fights broke out as tensions rose.
Passenger Sami Campbell, who was travelling from Haymarket to Falkirk, told STV News at the time she witnessed a man being pushed out of a carriage, almost falling onto the tracks.
She described the scenes as a "living nightmare".
The disruption also came on the day a Scotland v France rugby match took place at Murrayfield Stadium in the city.
The temporary closure of one of Waverley or Haymarket stations is an option being considered by the rail operator.
Speaking at the Scottish Parliament on Wednesday, ScotRail boss Alex Hynes told MSPs the review would impact not just the train network but also events management across Edinburgh.
He suggested it was not "wise" for an international rugby match to have been scheduled to take place on the busiest festival weekend.
Mr Hynes said: "We took many people into Edinburgh and clearly the numbers of people who wanted to travel back at the same time created some pressure on the system.
"We had three circumstances where passengers actually pulled the passenger alarm, which meant that trains were brought to a stand, and clearly in an event which caused that much customer pain, we've done what we call an Incident Learning Review.
"Once we've finalised that review, I will be publishing the learnings of that.
"The learnings won't just affect the railway, the learnings will also affect major event management in the city of Edinburgh because these events are getting bigger and bigger."
He added: "I'm not sure it is wise for us to host rugby at Murrayfield at the same time as the busiest Edinburgh Festival weekend, and that's a conversation I've already started to have with Scottish Rugby.
"So it's clear to me we're going to have to manage this risk in a different way.
"I'm disappointed that happened on the Saturday night because the rest of the festival plan worked perfectly."
'I'm not sure it is wise for us to host rugby at Murrayfield at the same time as the busiest Edinburgh Festival weekend, and that's a conversation I've already started to have with Scottish Rugby.'ScotRail boss Alex Hynes
Mr Hynes said ScotRail is now considering steps to adapt its operations around major events, including suggestions to bring in quota controls or closing either Waverley or Haymarket station to better manage the number of passengers.
"Our objective is we get better and better at managing those major events," Mr Hynes said.
"Our ability to cope with those major events will ease in the future because the rolling stock fleet continues to grow so we're able to provide more capacity and more seats for our customers.
"We operate a walk-up railway and that presents some logistical challenges and so one of the things we need to think about is do we actually put quota controls in on those very, very busy days?
"Is it wise to keep Haymarket and Waverley station open at the same time?
"These are all things that we're thinking about because the Edinburgh Festival is only going to get bigger so we might need to adapt our operation accordingly."