Five hundred more seats – and two extra trains – have been confirmed for passengers who travel into Glasgow during the morning peak period from towns in Ayrshire and Renfrewshire.
In the evening peak, an additional four services from Glasgow will add a similar number of seats for people going home.
ScotRail has highlighted that the improvements – which will begin in December – will attract 500,000 more passengers a year, and represent a 12% increase in services on the current provision.
Enhancements are also planned for outwith peak periods, with several locations set to benefit from more trains:
Off-peak services (compared to current services):
Howwood: 2 trains per hour (1)
Lochwinnoch: 2 trains per hour (1)
Glengarnock: 3 trains per hour (2)
Dalry: 3 trains per hour (2)
Kilwinning: 6 trains per hour (4)
Irvine: 4 trains per hour (2)
Barassie: 2 trains per hour (1)
Troon: 3 trains per hour (2)
Prestwick Airport: 3 trains per hour (2)
Prestwick Town: 3 trains per hour (2)
Newton on Ayr: 2 trains per hour (1)
Ayr: 3 trains per hour (2)
Faster journey times between Glasgow and Ayr will make train travel more competitive with bus.
ScotRail’s confirmation makes it clear that Ayr, its surrounding communities and the Garnock valley will receive a much improved train service throughout the day.
Jerry Farquharson, ScotRail’s director of business planning, said: “The new timetable is carefully designed to encourage more people to use rail throughout Ayrshire and Renfrewshire.
“We are adding services where they are most needed, using a mix of fast and stopping services to reflect journey patterns across the whole area.”
ScotRail will be using a further four trains from its most modern fleet – the quiet, air-conditioned and eco-friendly Class 380s – during off-peak times. And, to meet the uplift in services, it has recruited 12 more drivers and a further 10 ticket examiners to staff the additional services.
Mr Farquharson added: “More travel opportunities – and jobs – are being created, with the changes also designed to attract additional passengers to rail at off-peak times, and to increase journey opportunities to and from Glasgow.”
Transport Minister Keith Brown said: “We are working alongside ScotRail and Network Rail to enhance the passenger experience and deliver more capacity, renewals works and new electric rolling stock to address issues like overcrowding, capacity and punctuality.
“We’ve already seen a lot of progress in the area – such as the Class 380 trains brought into service last year. We have also invested around £170million on infrastructure enhancements to allow a more robust service to be delivered.
“This timetable aims to enable better ferry connections and faster journey times, with all stations on the routes benefiting from more passengers.
“We have worked closely with ScotRail to deliver a timetable that provides the most economical benefits out of all the options considered and represents the best value for money.”
The new timetable coincides with a £12million investment by ScotRail and Network Rail to electrify the separate Paisley Canal Line which runs to and from Glasgow Central.
The project, due for completion by December, will be the first major project to be delivered under a new ‘alliance’ between both organisations.
Paisley Canal will also feature Class 380s on the route, and Class 314s will be used during the day – adding 72 seats to each service.
Electric trains are much greener than their diesel counterparts; and can return energy to the grid through their braking systems.