Transport issues affecting travel to the St Andrews Open Championship
This post brings together comments we posted a couple days ago on Twitter regarding travel to the 150th Open Championship at St Andrews this coming week, 11-17 July 2022. We've also included some additional information and useful links.
If attending The Open at St Andrews you may have seen or heard coverage about transport issues. Below are some thoughts that could be useful to you, if you do not have your own vehicle available to get to St Andrews.
Important disclaimers: We are not an official source of transport advice. Various links are below to websites and Twitter feeds of transport operators and local Fife news. Please keep up to date from these sources and direct any questions to them. We are bringing together information of which we are currently aware at the time of posting. All timetables may be subject to change due to staffing issues - Twitter feeds from transport providers usually update travellers on cancellations.
Update : Friday 15 July
- LNER information on travel to The Open recommends all rail passengers have a seat reservation to travel with LNER services to/from Leuchars. Seat reservations can be added to an LNER ticket via the LNER app.
- There is a £6 return charge for rail passengers using the Park and Ride shuttle buses from Leuchars P&R (directly beside the station), to the course. This means you can get the P&R bus back directly from the course, which is much more convenient than going to St Andrews Bus Station for a normal bus service.
Update : Thursday 14 July
- Information on the LNER train services running to and from Leuchars for The Open.
- Scotrail timetables through to Sunday 17th are now available on the Scotrail website.
- LNER services are less frequent than Scotrail, but LNER trains tend to have more carriages. LNER have announced they are doubling their services between Wednesday to Sunday 17 July with an extra 4 trains each day. The LNER timetables are very useful as they cover all trains to Leuchars, including Scotrail trains, but helpfully clearly show which trains are LNER services.
- Scotrail have been warning since Wednesday (which was still only a practice day) that services are very busy to and from Leuchars.
Update : Wednesday 13 July
- The R&A have advised by email that if going by train to the Open via Leuchars it is not a problem to use the shuttle buses serving the Leuchars Park and Ride facility next to the station to get to and from the course.
Update : Tuesday 12 July
- The dispute behind the reduced rail services has been resolved but the temporary timetable is still in place and possibly will be all this coming week.
- Some shuttle buses have been seen at Leuchars rail station on Monday and there were some buses from the course but Scotrail still state no GolfLink shuttle service is running.
- There is a Park and Ride facility right next to Leuchars station which is operating a shuttle service to the course - common sense would suggest rail passengers could use this facility. Scotrail won't comment as not their buses, The Open haven't replied to our question.
- Send us a note on Twitter on how you get on - we'd love to know! Good luck to all travelling to St Andrews by public transport this week.
- Normally the train is a popular route to the Open at St Andrews from Glasgow, Edinburgh, Dundee. The train stops at Leuchars, 5 miles from St Andrews, and in past years a fleet of GolfLink buses would be on hand to shuttle people between the station and the course.
- Scotrail are currently running a reduced train timetable due to issues we won't get in to here. Both Scotrail and the R&A are strongly advising spectators to find alternative transport options to get to the course.
- The train timetable for Monday 11 July to Friday 15 July is now live on the Scotrail website. The timetables for Saturday 16 July and Sunday 17 July are not yet confirmed. Go to Scotrail temporary timetables and look under The East Coast and Fife for timetables. The two services covering Leuchars are Edinburgh to Dundee and Edinburgh to Aberdeen.
- A few services are LNER trains, for example the midweek 10:28 service from Edinburgh to Leuchars and the 16:24 and 19:50 services from Leuchars to Edinburgh. LNER advise seat reservations are only mandatory for ticket holders of Advance tickets on LNER trains and not for other types of tickets. If you buy a ticket on the day, or a flexible ticket, a seat reservation is not required. This is NOT what theopen.com says on the Getting There page - which states seat reservations are required for all travel on LNER. LNER trains tend to have more carriages than Scotrail services.
- There are two railway stations in Edinburgh. Trains starting in Edinburgh start at Edinburgh Waverley. Haymarket is the stop after Waverley. The LNER service from Edinburgh to Leuchars also calls at Waverley first.
- The alternative options are driving or taking a bus. If you've not got your own car and haven't already arranged a rental car the costs for rental are particularly high just now and availability low.
- Bus services from the main towns - Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Perth, Dundee - to St Andrews are run by Stagecoach. If buying a ticket online be sure to choose St Andrews Bus Station, Fife as your destination as there is a St Andrews bus station in Edinburgh, confusingly. Bus times can be found at https://stagecoachbus.com/plan-a-journey
- Stagecoach works on a first come, first served basis even if you have purchased tickets in advance. Capacity will be limited on each coach and there is no announcement so far of extra services. See Twitter @StagecoachEScot for updates.
- The midweek Stagecoach service direct (with stops, but no changes) from St Andrews to Edinburgh (the X59), for example, runs hourly only and the last direct service to Edinburgh leaves St Andrews bus station at 19:35. After that a change is required at Glenrothes, with just two later services connecting to Edinburgh. It's a 2 hour journey by the direct service from St Andrews.
- The midweek Stagecoach X24 service between Glasgow and St Andrews is also hourly with the last bus leaving St Andrews bus station at 20:05. Its a 2 hour, 40 minute journey from St Andrews to Glasgow by this service.
- If you stick with the train, as you have no viable alternatives, the problem may not necessarily be getting to St Andrews but getting back. If you bank on the last couple of trains of the day and there is no capacity what do you do?
- Further, it's not only the train to/from Leuchars that's an issue. Scotrail have stated the GolfLink dedicated buses from Leuchars to the course will not be running. This is potentially significant, given normal numbers coming off, or heading for, each train.
- In past years the GolfLink shuttle service was operated by a fleet of dedicated double decker buses that sat in a line and efficiently and quickly ferried all train passengers direct to a special stop point at the course.
- The same service operated in reverse from the course to the station.
- This year the options from Leuchars, and back, are normal bus services including the Stagecoach 99 service from Dundee, running every 10 mins during the day Mon-Sat, (different frequency evening & Sun) and local buses by Moffat and Williamson - who have no info on their website.
- The buses stopping at Leuchars to take train passengers to the course will already have other passengers on them - some buses from Dundee could be full already.
- The 99 bus will accept GolfLink tickets. There will be bound to be taxis at Leuchars but how many, and for how many passengers, who knows?
- If you do take a taxi at Leuchars, or back to Leuchars, make sure it is a licensed taxi showing their licence number on official plates on the outside of the vehicle. If you are able to book taxis ahead, that's a good idea.
- Bus services returning from St Andrews will start at the St Andrews bus station - both those going to Leuchars to connect with rail services and those going elsewhere. Everyone using public transport from St Andrews will therefore need to start their journey at the bus station.
- If you take the train, don't leave it till the last couple of trains to try and get home, and try have a back up plan (sorry, we don't know what that might be other than a large budget for a taxi) and useful phone numbers to hand.
- Please bear in mind that services currently showing on timetables for the coming week may still be cancelled should the operator have further staffing issues on the day.
- Scotrail are offering refunds to anyone who has purchased GolfLink tickets and will not be using them. There are links for more information on their Twitter feed.
- This information was as accurate as we could find at the time of posting this thread. We suggest the links and feeds below for further information as the week goes on.
Other useful links:
Published: 10 July 2022