Tayside and Central Scotland

Cup final fans face travel headache as trains cancelled

St Johnstone fans Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption St Johnstone and Dundee United will meet in the Scottish Cup final at Celtic Park in May

Football fans travelling to the Scottish Cup final will face a travel headache after it emerged train lines will be closed for maintenance.

No direct trains will run between Dundee, Perth and Glasgow on 17 May despite local clubs Dundee United and St Johnstone meeting at Celtic Park.

Services between Aberdeen and Glasgow will still be running, diverted through Fife, along with replacement buses.

ScotRail said they were trying to arrange extra services for the match.

Up to 40,000 fans are expected to travel from Tayside to Glasgow for the derby final.

However before the two clubs triumphed in their respective semi-finals, Network Rail had scheduled improvements works on the line at Larbert on three weekends in May.

The work is to prepare for the electrification of the railway lines in the central belt.

Network Rail apologised for any inconvenience posed to fans, but noted that the work had been in the pipeline for two years and could not be put off due to the cup final.

Train operator ScotRail said they had contacted both clubs to discuss arrangements for getting supporters to Glasgow.

A spokesman said: "We recognise the achievements of both clubs in reaching the Cup Final - and that fans will want to travel to Glasgow to cheer on their teams.

"We've been in touch with the clubs and are discussing with Network Rail how best to arrange special trains from Perth and Dundee for supporters to get to and from Celtic Park on 17 May.

"Details will be confirmed in the next few days."

'Scheduled maintenance'

Extra services were laid on for last months' League Cup final, also at Celtic Park, between Aberdeen and Inverness Caledonian Thistle, which drew a crowd of over 50,000.

Mid Scotland and Fife MSP Liz Smith called for a delay to the engineering works, and has raised the matter with transport minister Keith Brown.

However Network Rail said the works had been planned in 2012, as part of the £650m project to electrify the line between Glasgow and Edinburgh, and said the 17 May operation could not be put off due to a range of technical reasons.

A spokesman added: "We try to schedule line maintenance works around major events that we know about in advance.

"For instance there will be no disruption to services for the Commonwealth Games of the Ryder Cup, but we can't do this for events like football cup finals when we don't know which teams will be taking part."

Work is scheduled at Larbert on Saturday and Sunday on the weekends of 17 May, 24 May and 31 May.

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