Wow, is Haymarket station crumbling or something? I went to the station at just before 9am to find out that there was a signal failure at Haymarket which meant that no trains were going into or coming out of Edinburgh. Apparently the trains are only starting up again around about now (after 11am). Too late for me. I missed my tutorials, but I guess it’s a more relaxing day than I expected!

This was also just in time for cheap tickets to become valid, so there were a lot of elderly ladies wanting to make their trip to Edinburgh. One went into a boring tirade about how this never used to happen when she travelled on steam trains.

Another looked at the monitor with all the departure times on it, and thought that because some trains (trains that were coming from the north and were hours away from turning up anyway) weren’t showing up as “cancelled” that the staff members must have been lying.

Staff member: “You can’t go by that. It’s all computerised, you see.”
Old lady: “But computers are meant to be wonderful things that never ever go wrong.”

She’s obviously never used a computer.

Last week my train back from Edinburgh was delayed by 70 minutes, also because of a signal failure at Haymarket.

This has spurred me on to finally sign up to First ScotRail’s text alerts, which is actually pretty cool. Imagine waking up to a message that says

KDY to EDB: 10:41 may be cancelled or delayed – signalling problems, 10:57 may be cancelled or delayed – signalling problems, 11:29 may be cancelled or delayed.

You could just go back to sleep! Brilliant! Mind you, it’s good to get up early I guess.

I’ve not got any ‘update’ alerts yet though, even when the actual website has been updated.

Update: Unlike last week, there is a story on the BBC News website:

“As part of the Waverley redevelopment project major investment is being made in the signalling which services at Haymarket.

“The problems underline the importance of that work.”

Bloody right.

Update: Big article on


  1. So essentially these text alerts are pretty useless then? Do they tell you when there are actual cancellations? Do they tell you when trains are on time?

  2. I was loitering for the 08:45 to Dalmeny this AM – ended up getting a Taxi. Surely after 45 minutes, it is patently obvious they are not going to fix it, and should have men with flags out to signal the trains the old fashioned way.

    This is all down to a company running the trains, another the infrastructure, and another contracted to do the work at Haymarket. Nobody talks to each other, and nobody with a local site background is there to make sure JCBs don’t dig up the signalling infrastructure!

    Well, this saves a rant on my own blog.

  3. I often get the alerts after I’ve actually got off the supposedly delayed train, so I can confirm that they’re not hugely helpful. I should perhaps set them up for my morning train where they might be more use than in the evening where I leave work regardless.