19/02/2013 - Services to double between Oban and Glasgow from 2014
A groundbreaking partnership between ScotRail, HITRANS and Argyll and Bute Council is set to deliver twice the number of trains between Oban and Glasgow.
From May 2014, the number of trains to and from the West Highlands town will double from three to six trains between Monday and Saturday.
Funded by ScotRail, a new early morning service from Oban will reach Glasgow before 09:00, ideal for business travellers; while a new evening
service will connect with the southbound Caledonian Sleeper at Crianlarich offering a wider range of journey opportunities. An additional afternoon
service completes the trio.
Northbound, a new early morning service will depart Glasgow Queen Street at 05:10 reaching Oban before 09:00; and two further new departures at 10:37 and 16:37.
ScotRail has paid tribute to the organisations involved, includingTransport Scotland, for their enthusiasm and flexibility in delivering integrated transport offerings.
Steve Montgomery, managing director of ScotRail, said: "Our original plan was to run five services a day. However, our early discussions with
HITRANS and the Council revealed a compelling case for six each day. So much so, that we decided to fund this ourselves.
"This 2014 timetable will provide year round connections to the central belt and improved integrated transport options, with good connections to
the majority of ferry services and even an opportunity to change at Connel Ferry for Oban airport."
Deputy Council Leader Roddy McCuish said,
"This is fantastic news for the people of Oban and Argyll and Bute as a whole. More trains direct to Glasgow will make a real difference to their lives. This opens up big opportunities for the area and I am sure it will encourage more people to visit this beautiful part of the world."
Transport Minister Keith Brown said:
"These additional services are great news for passengers and, in the year of Homecoming, will provide a real boost for the tourism sector in Oban, Argyll and the islands.
"I have been extremely encouraged to see this fantastic result of partnership working in practice and it sets a great example for the Community Rail Partnerships we are launching throughout the country. I look forward to seeing more of these announcements in the coming months andyears as the CRPs really take off."
Cllr John Semple, chairman of HITRANS, also welcomed the new services.
"HITRANS is delighted that Transport Minister Keith Brown has announced enhanced rail services for Oban. It provides excellent connectivity for
Lorne and Argyll mainland and island residents to access Central Scotland and beyond, and facilitates tourist travel to the west coast. For some
years HITRANS has been developing the case for more trains to Oban, and it is very satisfying to see the project coming to fruition.
ScotRail has also approached Argyll and Bute Council to suggest that, as part of the new timetable, the train operator could provide new 'school trains' for Oban school pupils from next August. The move would see pupils receive rail passes for use all year around. ScotRail has stressed that it would work with the council and HITRANS to promote safe walking and cycle routes for each station.